Third-generation (3G) telephony is not available on the Chinese mainland yet but subscribers in a district of Shanghai can now experience something beyond it.
The world's first fourth-generation (4G) mobile communication system was officially launched yesterday in Shanghai's Changning District following an October initial trial run.
The home-grown 4G system provides speeds of up to 100 mbps for wireless transmission of data and images, rendering current speeds obsolete.
The rollout of the trial, costing 150 million yuan (US$19.2 million), is a milestone in the development of China's 4G technologies.
"It testifies that the technology we've developed is feasible and brings us one step closer to commercial use," said You Xiaohu, a leading expert involved in the program.
China initiated the B3G (Beyond 3G)/4G research project in 2001 under the label Future Technology for Universal Radio Environment, or FuTURE Project, which is included in the national high-tech development plan.
The country set itself the goal of conducting 4G field tests and putting it into trial commercial use between 2006 and 2010, according to the FuTURE Project.
"The Shanghai system shows that we have entered the final phase of our project," said You, also the principal of the FuTURE Project's expert panel.
The FuTURE Project involves about 10 leading domestic institutions.
It holds over 200 patents and some of its core technologies have already been adopted by international standards organizations, positioning China as a world leader for 4G technologies.
4G mobile communication, set for global commercial use by 2010, IS to transmit data as quickly as optical fiber, dramatically improving the streaming of high-quality images and data services through wireless transmission.
The irony of its rapid development is that China is yet to award domestic telecom operators licences to build 3G (third generation) mobile phone networks, but Wang Xudong, minister of information industry, told reporters at the ITU Telecom World 2006 last month that it could happen "very soon".
(China Daily January 29, 2007)