Fifth-generation wireless technology will play a big role in the upgrade of traditional sectors in 2021 and contribute to global economic recovery, as deployments gather pace, experts said on Wednesday.
The comments came as the Mobile World Congress Shanghai, a major exhibition of the mobile communications industry, is scheduled to make a grand return as a physical experience from Feb 23 to Feb 25 at the Shanghai New International Expo Center.
Sihan Bo Chen, China head of the global telecom industry association GSMA, the organizer of the MWC event, said there is a strong desire for economic recovery in the world, and as the first in-person MWC event since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the MWC Shanghai 2021 will offer a good opportunity for the global telecommunications industry to showcase its latest technologies and products.
"5G is shaping the future, and China will continue to be at the forefront of this change," she said, adding that every sector is undergoing deep transformation, and connected progress will stimulate global recovery and help the world overcome the effects of the pandemic.
This year, the MWC Shanghai will welcome international attendees and audiences, with a virtual platform to accompany the physical event. Online attendees will be able to access the live conference and partner content online, the GSMA said.
The theme for the MWC series of events this year is Connected Impact. The GSMA said the program will showcase how the entire digital ecosystem continues to transform lives and significantly support global recovery with technology visionaries sparking conversation and imagination through keynotes and panel discussions.
To quicken the commercialization of 5G, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the top industry regulator in China, said earlier this year that the nation will build more than 600,000 5G base stations in 2021.
The plan comes with China already having built more than 718,000 5G base stations as of mid-December and with 5G signals available in more than 300 cities at prefecture level and above.
Last year, more than 163 million 5G smartphones were shipped out of factories to retailers across China, according to the latest data from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology. In December alone, 5G phone shipments reached 18.2 million units, or 68.4 percent of the country's total phone shipments, the CAICT said.
Hou Mingjuan, vice-president of US chip giant Qualcomm Inc, said earlier that as an innovation platform for the next decade, 5G will not only encourage consumers to upgrade their smartphones, but also bring innovation power to almost all industries, generate new growth opportunities for the global economy and lead the innovation wave.