An indoor 5G network will be installed in the Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station by the end of this year, mobile operator and technology provider said Monday.
China Mobile Shanghai and Huawei jointly made the announcement on building the 5G digital indoor system (DIS) at the station, a major railway hub that handles 60 million passengers every year.
The network will cover the entire station by the end of 2019 to meet passenger demand for high-speed connectivity, said the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Informatization.
A 5G network in the railway station will be part of the effort to speed up the digital economy development in Shanghai, said Zhang Jianming, deputy director of the commission.
Shanghai is committed to building a smart city through investment in new infrastructure including AI, industrial Internet, and the Internet of Things.
The network will be able to handle twice the current data usage by passengers during the next Spring Festival travel season, said Zhou Yuefeng, chief marketing officer for Huawei Wireless Network Product Line.
He hopes the technology will be used in airports and other public venues. As of mid-January this year, Huawei has signed 30 5G contracts, he said.
The 5G network, or the fifth generation wireless network, promises faster speeds, less lag, or "latency," when connecting to the network and the ability to connect many devices to the Internet without bogging it down.
However, 5G uses high frequencies, which means that network signals will weaken when encountering physical barriers. This makes it challenging to provide full 5G coverage indoors, industry experts say.
At the launch event, China Mobile Shanghai and Huawei demonstrated the 1.2Gbps peak rate enabled by the 5G DIS. Passengers will be able to download a 2GB HD film in less than 20 seconds. The network will also support services including 4K HD video calling and multi-way ultra-HD video uploading.
The Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station is one of Asia's biggest traffic hubs in terms of passenger throughput. During the peak season, about 330,000 people pass through the station on a single day.
Chinese cities are adopting the 5G network to meet public demand. The Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in south China's Guangdong Province launched a 5G base station. A 5G-based smart highway project is under construction in central Hebei Province to accommodate self-driving vehicles.