Daily Drip

Chinese Providers Receive Clearance for 5G, Also Backpedal a Lot on its Usefulness


China’s tech ecosystem continues its whirlwind dive into the future, and telecom providers have been racing to keep one step ahead. They plan to do so by ushering the world into the era of 5G internet.

So that being said, we have two interesting pieces of news here. The first is the most important, which is that China’s top three telecom providers have won approval to begin rolling out 5G pilot programs. China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom will be hitting the ground running, and establishing basic 5G infrastructure in select cities across the country.

To counterbalance this news, Huawei, the Chinese smartphone giant and longstanding Yes Man of our glorious 5G future, has just gone on the record as effectively saying “eh.”

At an analyst event in Shenzhen this week, rotating chairman Eric Xu said rather plainly that consumers would find no “material difference between the two technologies [5G and 4G].”

Huawei Surpasses Apple in Popularity Amongst Chinese Consumers

5G has been a hot-topic, mostly under the assumption that the speed is instrumental for all our favorite dystopian future technologies, i.e. self-driving cars, the Internet of Things, etc. But Xu pointed out that “even today we have the technology that can support autonomous driving.” This is a pretty anti-climactic thing to say, after Huawei has poured $600 million USD into 5G research since 2009, and has committed to another $800 million USD for this year. Womp.

5G future-scapes, will they or won’t they? Only time and State-operated telecommunications industries will tell.

Cover photo: laremenko/ iStock

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Adan Kohnhorst
Adan Kohnhorst is a US-based writer, producer, multimedia artist, and former associate editor at RADII. His work has been featured in publications such as Maxim and the Chinese-language StreetVoice, and he’s an active member of the hip hop and DIY music scenes in Shanghai, NYC, and Dallas. He learned Mandarin in high school to train at the Shaolin Temple but now uses it to interview rappers. He blogs about China and Asia on Instagram: @this.is.adan

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