Cheng Xizhong, Special Commentator of China Economic Net, Visiting Professor at Southwest University of Political Science and Law，Senior Fellow of the Chahar Institute
BEIJING, June 17 (China Economic Net) - China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has issued 5G commercial licenses to China Telecom, China Mobile, China Unicom and China Radio and Television, marking China's race into the 5G era.
The 5th generation mobile communication technology is an achievement under joint research and development by more than 20 enterprises all over the world. With Chinese enterprises accounting for 30% of the R&D team, China has made significant contributions to meet the goal.
With 5G technology, “all things will be interconnected”, and the speed will be dramatically improved, which will bring revolutionary changes to people's life and social-economic development. People in China’s big cities will enjoy 5G in the second half of this year and people in medium and small cities will enjoy the convenience within a year or two.
As its neighbor and close friend, China is willing to fully open the technological results to Pakistan. Because it’s a common recognition that whatever enjoyed by Chinese people can also be enjoyed by Pakistani people, 5G technology in this case, should be shared with our Pakistani friends. With 5G technology, Pakistani socio-economic and science and technology development will enter into a new era.
Pakistan has seen rapid Internet expansion in recent years. By the end of January this year, Pakistan had 65.13 million broadband subscribers. Of all the broadband users in Pakistan, 3G and 4G users account for the majority. At the same time, the number of mobile phone users in Pakistan has increased to 155.4 million. However, the coverage rate of mobile network is only 31.19%. Now the number of fixed broadband subscribers is only 1.6 million, and the coverage rate is very low, which is obviously behind the average level of the developing countries. There is still much room for further development. Broadband popularization is crucial to Pakistan's digital development. Therefore, the government should continue to make efforts to promote broadband use throughout the country for the benefit of the people.
In my perspective, the application of 5G technology in Pakistan has three main advantages: first, the Pakistani government has been sparing no efforts in attracting FDI (foreign direct investment) and has provided low tariff and other preferential policies for foreign investors; second, Pakistan's mobile, fixed telephone and broadband market is highly open for foreign investment; third, Pakistan's demand for mobile data services is increasing.
But the following three factors may undermine the process of 5G application: first, low per capita disposable income; second, high tax rate in Pakistan's telecommunications industry; and third, underdeveloped telecommunication infrastructure.
As a technological weapon and a factor as indispensable as air, water and sunshine, 5G will give strong support to the operation and development of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor（CPEC）and special economic zones. 5G is a wireless sensor network connecting the whole system of CPEC and special economic zones. It can provide direct solutions for the grid, energy, transportation, security and other aspects of CPEC and special economic zones, thus bringing various social and economic benefits.
In the global smart-phone market, Samsung has 18% market share, Apple 17%, Huawei 15%. As far as Asian market is concerned, Huawei accounts for 17% and apple 12%. While in the European market, Apple accounts for 26%, Samsung 25% and Huawei 23%.
In Pakistan, the share of Huawei in the mobile phone market is 22.2%. Huawei is popular in Pakistan for four reasons: first, the company attaches great importance to investing in Pakistan; second, it shoulders the social responsibilities of training local technicians; third, it returns the favor of local societies by employing native staff; and fourth, it pays close attention to after-sales service.
China's mobile communication technology is developing at an alarming speed. More than 10 years ago, there was hardly any market for mobile phones made-in-China in the world. Now, China's share of the global smart-phone market has exceeded 50%, a figure that furies the United States. In this case, “Uncle Sam” wields its state power and state machinery to suppress Huawei, a Chinese private enterprise, and put it on unfair charges.
In spite of strong pressure from the United States, Huawei had won 46 5G commercial contracts with 30 countries around the world as of June 6. It is fully believed that in the near future, Huawei will surpass Apple and Samsung in global business and become the world's largest brand in this field.
Though CPEC is a joint project between China and Pakistan, the task of operation and maintenance will ultimately fall on Pakistan. If the country resolves to embark on the road of independent development, the priority and core driving force will be talent training.
(Cheng Xizhong, Special Commentator of China Economic Net, Visiting Professor at Southwest University of Political Science and Law，Senior Fellow of the Chahar Institute)