28 October 2016
ZTE is setting its sights on the 5G and smart city technology. Photo:Bloomberg
ZTE is setting its sights on the 5G and smart city technology. Photo:Bloomberg

ZTE eyes 5G, smart city as future revenue engines

The 5G era is just around the corner.

Samsung predicts the next-generation mobile technology will be out on the market by 2020, but Keiichi Makizono, senior vice president of SoftBank, is confident his group can develop it in two to three years.

Japan will probably be the first country to roll out 5G technology, and China smartphone brand ZTE (00763.HK) is going to play a major part in it, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Softbank has joined forces with ZTE in developing the massive Multi-input Multi-output (MIMO) technology. MIMO can significantly increase the bandwidth of traditional antennas, thus upgrading data transfer speed to “Pre5G” or even “5G” standard.

Pre5G, a concept introduced by ZTE last year, simply means applying 5G technology on the current 4G hardware. End-users can enjoy data transfer speed that is four times faster than 4G without having to upgrade their smartphones.

Makizono said the development of the technology consists of three stages. The first one will be completed by the end of this year, after which the technology will undergo a trial period.

China’s three biggest smartphone manufacturers — Xiaomi, Huawei and Lenovo (00992.HK) — all aim to ship 100 million units this year, and raise the volume by 33 to 66 percent each year.

The target set by ZTE is a lot milder. The group only plans to ship 60 million handsets this year, up 25 percent from 2014.

“Many industry players experienced ups and downs in a fast pace, but ZTE would like to grow steadily and healthily,” said Zeng Xuezhong, executive vice president and the head of the mobile devices division.

Meanwhile, ZTE is setting its sights on smart city technology and the smart car market. Johanna BasfordSenior vice president Pang Shengqing said he expects revenue from the smart city segment will account for a quarter of the total revenue in the future.

The group is seeking to cooperate with technology behemoth Tencent (00700.HK) in the smart city market, Pang added.

Tencent is doing great in the consumer segment while ZTE has its advantages in industry transformation as well as solving problems for governments. For example, ZTE has been deploying big data technology in the transport and medical sectors.

The two could work closely together, sharing market information and designing localized apps and intelligent traffic light systems, said Shan Zhiguang, deputy director of the Information Research Department of the State Information Center.

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