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By Elvi Correos, Senior Journalist, Telecom Review Group

 Staying ahead of the competition, China Mobile has announced the world's first commercial 5G-A (abbreviation of 5G-Advanced) launch, kicking off its plan to deploy 5G-A at scale, covering 300 cities in 2024. With this in mind, China Mobile is expected to become the world's first telecom operator to commercialize 5G-A.

Notably, China Mobile is the world's largest telecom operator in terms of network scale, number of customers, and overall revenue. Committed to leading the development of mobile communications technology, the operator helped accelerate innovation in 5G-A and led the formulation of sixty international 5G-A standards, ranking first among global operators.

What Is 5G-A?

A cornerstone for network evolution, service innovation, and all-scenario digitalization, 5G-A forms part of a critical phase in 5G's evolution towards future. Notably, 5G-A delivers higher speeds, more connections, and lower latency than the current 5G technology.

5G-A expands the boundaries of 5G capabilities by introducing technologies like integrated communications, computing, intelligence, and space-air-ground integration. All of which will empower digital lives and support industries' intelligent digital upgrade.

China Mobile’s Commercial 5G-A Blueprint

There are five notable aspects that create a new world of possibilities for 5G-A, and China Mobile has successfully deployed initiatives aligned with each. 

  • Higher Speeds, Better Services, and Better Products

With peak rates 10 times that of 5G, a 5G-A network can reach the speeds of up to 10 Gbps downloads and 1 Gbps uploads. Moreover, customers will have access to tiered key service assurance with 5G-A, meeting the diverse communication service requirements of specific customer groups. Accelerated real-time 3D rendering, game loading, and cloud collaboration would also greatly improve the product functions and user experience for 5G New Calling, cloud phones, and cloud computers, among other products.

First of all, China Mobile has completed 3CC CA tests in more than twenty provinces and started commercial 3CC deployment. China Mobile’s Zhejiang branch, hailed as one of the ‘5G-A dual-chain integration innovation demonstration bases,’ leverages the operator’s commercial 5G network to gradually implement 5G-A air interface enhancement technologies.

Furthermore, China Mobile's commercial plan for 5G-A will speed up the development of the 5G-A device industry value chain. They announced their intention to cultivate over 20 million 5G-A device users and introduce more than 20 mobile phone models by the end of 2024.

The operator also announced its plan to create 100 benchmark 5G-A industry applications within the year to accelerate the maturity of 5G-A in the industry (5G-AtoB) market.

Without a doubt, China Mobile is now ready for commercial 5G-A service provisioning. The operator has defined 5G-A packages that will offer higher speeds, tiered experience guarantees, and multi-metric charging models to meet different user needs. To be specific, users who subscribe to a 5G-A tariff package will see a ‘5G-A’ icon on their phone screen.

China Mobile will also establish 5G-A experience centers in 100 cities across China and distribute commercial 5G-A gift packages nationwide to invite users to experience 5G-A. As previously described, within China Mobile's 5G-A showcase service centers, users can experience the ultimate experience brought by 5G-A in an immersive way. China Mobile will provide customer service support and network assurance in terms of networks, tariff, devices, products, and distribution channels.

10,000 users were eligible to apply for commercial 5G-A gift packages, for free. Through the China Mobile app, customers can join the experience program. This program offers 100 GB of monthly data traffic for twelve months as well as cloud phone subscription, fun calling, and call speech-to-text services for six months.

  • Extended Connections and Improved Efficiency

Passive IoT technology facilitates a shift from singular communications to extensive, long-distance connections of objects, fulfilling the need for efficient management of assets on a large scale.

In Jiangsu, China Mobile’s 5G-A Passive IoT is enabling HLA stores to realize intelligent operations through intelligent positioning, display planning, and interest analysis, creating a new benchmark for digital apparel retail management.

On the other hand, the deterministic networks of 5G-A guarantee dependable transmission of critical data with minimal latency, addressing customers' demands for high-performance networks that enable precise control and collaborative operations.

In Hubei, China Mobile's 5G deterministic network industry solution delivers significantly improved end-to-end 5G network service capabilities to support Midea factories in stable wireless collaboration between robots and AGVs, helping reduce O&M costs and improve production efficiency.

Three 5G-A Advocacies

China Mobile's Executive Vice President, Gao Tongqing, said that 5G is accelerating its evolution to 5G-A. He emphasized that China Mobile will lead 5G-A development among operators in China and will continue to play its key role in building a Digital China—making the country stand out as a cyber-power and technology powerhouse.

The operator will also accelerate the construction of new information infrastructure, accelerate the creation of a new information service system, and unleash infinite possibilities of 5G.

In line with this, Gao Tongqing put forward three advocacies: Firstly, work together on 5G-A innovation to develop cutting-edge technology; secondly, jointly promote a mature 5G-A industry value chain to encourage collaboration; and thirdly, jointly create innovative 5G-A business models to accelerate commercial success.

As part of its efforts to foster a 5G-A industry ecosystem, China Mobile, alongside multiple industry partners, has established the 5G-A Innovation Industry Alliance and the Glasses-free 3D Industry Alliance. Achievements of such collaboration include different glasses-free 3D devices, including mobile phones, tablets, car screens, laptop PCs, and monitors, as well as many more achievements in content applications, technical platforms, and ecosystem capabilities.

Moving forward, the operator will continue to explore new 5G-A applications and services to benefit both the industry and society at large.

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