China's ZTE Corp is planning to double its 5G research spending for 2017 and beyond to reach the top of the industry. The Chinese telecom equipment manufacturer is initiating this move in support of China's goal to build the largest 5G network in the world. ZTE revealed that it had already invested 1 billion yuan in this project last year. For this year, it intends to double that amount to 2 billion yuan ($295 .5 million). However, the telecom giant admitted that this amount could still increase as the Chinese government wants to launch 5G by 2020. 5G technologies offer higher speeds than what 4G can offer. The current 4G LTE networks can only attain a maximum speed of about 1 Gbps. However, because of the presence of high-rise structures, that maximum speed is not actually attained. Therefore, China wants to beat the U.S. in the race to become number one in 5G technologies, in the world even if 5G international standards are not yet in place.
That explains why a forecast was issued by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology indicating that it will increase its 5G investments to 1.65 trillion yuan by 2025. Being one of the country's major equipment manufacturers, ZTE is bound to receive a major portion of this funding, along with Huawei, also one of China's major companies. The reason for this massive research and development spending is that 5G implementation is very expensive. Additionally, there will be a need to design and produce new mobile phones that will support this nascent technology. That's the reason why Huawei, one of China's largest cell phone makers, is thrown into the picture.
In its bid to be the world's number one in 5G technologies, China has undertaken field tests of its first 5G base station. State-owned China Mobile, the country's largest telecom operator has already started the trials last week. In terms of manpower, ZTE recently revealed that there are 3,000 people currently working in its 5G research and development facilities. It is more than likely that this number will increase in the near future. When asked about this possibility, a spokeswoman for the company declined to give an answer.