LIVE FROM MWC SHANGHAI 2018: Lan Chen, president and CEO of Docomo Beijing Labs (pictured), announced its 5G countdown has begun, with the Japan-headquartered company set to launch the technology within 800 days.

The operator plans to first build a non-standalone 5G system based on trials it started in 2017, she said, adding spectrum will be assigned by end of March 2019.

NTT Docomo previously announced plans to commercialise 5G services in 2020, in time for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

“Since the standardisation is set, it’s time to consider how to deploy a 5G network. We need to strategically deploy 5G in the necessary areas, with the necessary functions and with adequate frequencies,” she said.

Chen noted its 5G network needs to be built to cope with the continuous growth in data traffic, as well as handle new business cases across various industries.

She noted that to cope with the many challenges mobile operators face across the world and prepare for 5G, Docomo started to transform from being a global communications company into a value co-creation company by collaborating with partners across a wide range of industry verticals.

In February, it launched its 5G Open Partners Programme, with more than 1,400 companies already joining the initiative.

“Our aim is to use 5G technology to enhance the user experience and use AI technology to expand the market,” she said.