Chinese telecom operator and smartphone maker ZTE has started working on a fifth generation (5G) technology products and expects to bring out a prototype by 2015 to usher in a much faster and better Internet experience for users across the globe.
Globally, 4G technology allows speeds upwards of 100 MB per second upto as much as 2 GB per second. At this speed, a Bollywood movie of 650 to 750 MB size can be downloaded in seconds. The next generation of services (5G) would allow even faster downloads and Internet browsing. 4G is yet to take off on a large scale globally.
In India, Airtel is the only player offering 4G services with speeds of up to 10 MB per second on the iPhone 5S and 5C (according to its website).
ZTE, which is China's second largest telecom equipment maker, has already started working on 5G devices and standards, its Senior Vice President (Wireless Business) Xu Huijun told PTI.
"ZTE has already invested a lot on 5G in terms of product designs. By 2015, we should have the first prototype of 5G network equipment to ensure that we are among the first vendors to launch the fifth generation network commercially in the international market," Xu added.
Though he did not disclose the investment details, Xu said most of the R&D work is being done out of ZTE's facilities across China.
"We have pressed some 1,000 top engineers to drive the 5G project," Xu said adding that the company will invest in next-generation technologies like 5G to enhance competitiveness and intellectual property capabilities to stay ahead in the ever-changing technology landscape and market environment," he added.
Xu is of the view that 5G would be a mix of multiple technologies with strong learnings from 4G.
"ZTE's engineers will initially use the 4G platform to create 5G network devices," Xu said.
ZTE owns over 800 essential patents on 4G-LTE standardisation, which is 13 per cent of the total 4G-LTE patents across for the global industry.
According to an IHS research paper on global LTE market, ZTE was one of the top three LTE infrastructure vendors with 17.9 per cent market share in 2013. It was also the fastest growing 4G-LTE vendor.
ZTE expects to double its global revenues from 4G-LTE infrastructure deployments this year to USD 1.6 billion from USD 800 million last year. It gained the largest share of China Mobile's 4G-LTE Phase I project in 2013 with a 26 per cent share.