The Chinese vendor aims to start selling 5G equipment next year

Chinese vendor ZTE has completed tests of indoor 3.5 GHz and core 5G wireless network technology in the third phase of China’s national 5G testing program, Chinese press reported.

ZTE said that the first phase of the national 5G test will be the final stage before the technology can be commercialized in the Asian country.

ZTE also said that it aims to launch commercial trials of 5G technology in the second half of the year, which would be the initial step toward a more extensive commercial launch in 2019, according to the reports.

ZTE is resuming normal business operations after the U.S. government recently recently lifted a  ban which had forced the vendor to suspend activity. In March, the U.S Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) had imposed a seven-year ban of component and technology sales to ZTE, after the vendor allegedly did not live up to the terms of an agreement that had been worked out after it illegally shipped telecom equipment to Iran and North Korea. In early May, ZTE said it had ceased its major operating activities due to the export ban.

However, following negotiations between the U.S. and China, the Trump administration reached an agreement with ZTE which allowed the firm to resume business. Under the terms of the agreement, the Chinese firm replaced its leadership and paid $1 billion to the U.S. government as part of a settlement agreement, as well as an additional $400 million in escrow.

China 5G national tests

China’s 5G R&D tests, which are being carried out by the IMT-2020 (5G) promoting group, started in 2016 and are expected to be concluded by the end of 2018. These tests involve three phases: key technologies testing, the verification of technology and solution and 5G system verification.

The IMT-2020 (5G) promotion group was jointly established in 2013 by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the National Development and Reform Commission, and the Ministry of Science and Technology, based on the original IMT-Advanced Promotion Group. In China, it is the primary platform through which 5G research and international exchange and cooperation is conducted.

Operators participating in the IMT-2020 Promotion Group include China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom and Japanese telecoms operator NTT DoCoMo. Vendors which are part of the initiative are Huawei, ZTE, Ericsson, Nokia, Datang and Samsung. A number of chipset and test measurement vendors, including Qualcomm, Intel, Mediatek, Ctec, Keysight Technologies and Rohde & Schwartz are also part of the initiative.

The IMT-2020 Promotion Group completed the initial phase of its trial program in 2016. That phase included testing wireless technologies including massive multiple-input-multiple-output, novel multiple access, new waveforms, advance coding, ultra-dense network implementations and high-frequency communications. The trial phase also included network slicing, edge computing and network function reconstruction. The second phase of the national 5G tests were fully completed during 2017.

During the first phase of the 5G trial, five companies including Huawei and ZTE have built 15 base stations in Huairou District in Beijing to support further testing.

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