"These pre-5G solutions will help operators exponentially enhance the access rate and overall network capacity by leveraging existing resources in the next three to five years," he said. "Before standardisation of 5G technologies, they can effectively mitigate the challenges of the data traffic surge, and help operators seize market opportunities as well as achieve better business development."
Having begun exploring 5G in 2012, ZTE has spent US$200 million on research last year and employed over 800 engineers. This year, Zhang said that ZTE plans to double its investment in 5G, spending US$400 million on research and employing up to 1600 engineers in development centres in China, Europe and the U.S.
He added that ZTE sees 5G as a core strategy and it aims to become a pioneer in the 5G field, which justifies the company's commitment to the ongoing investment in the development of 5G technologies.
Building a smart nation
In Singapore, An said that ZTE is in discussions with the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) with regards to Smart Nation projects.
Specifically, the company has participated in industry roundtables organised by the government agency with both operators and IDA. As the project is still ongoing, An refused to disclose the names of the telcos, citing confidentiality reasons.
However, he briefly mentioned that the partnership will encompass three areas: sensor and communication (such as aggregation box and TD-LTE network), database and data analysis, as well as knowledge sharing.
"The reason as to why we have the confidence to talk about smart city is because we are actively investing in this initiative. We have worked with more than 100 cities in China, including Ningbo and Qinghuangdao, providing residents easier access to information and smart applications covering everything from transport, tourism, business services, and education to healthcare," said An. "Since we have a rich experience doing smart city in China, we want to integrate our experiences to other relevant projects around the world."
In addition, An said that ZTE is also working with the three local telcos - Singtel, StarHub and M1 - to work on different areas like fixed network, transmission network and barrier network, on top of providing solutions for business support systems (BSS) and operating support systems (OSS).
"This is very important because we think the BSS/OSS will be like a glue for the future network evolution, positioning ZTE very well in the upcoming smart nation initiative," he concluded.
Besides China and Singapore, ZTE has also contributed to the Smart Nation initiative by working closely with other Asian telcos. An said that ZTE has particularly done a lot of work in India, which announced last year grand plans to build 100 smart cities across the country.
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