MWC SHANGHAI 2021: China Telecom chairman Ke Ruiwen encouraged operators to embrace network sharing in the 5G era, to reduce deployment costs and free resources for investment in innovative consumer and business services.

“Given the extremely high operating and constructing costs of 5G infrastructure, network sharing is essential”.

“We also are joining hands with partners, and even competitors, for joint research and development on key technologies to accelerate 5G service innovation,” he explained.

Ke said China Telecom has more than 320 million 5G connections, with some 200 million subscribers owning compatible handsets. Along with China Unicom, it has deployed 700,000 5G base stations.

Given increasing support from industrial sectors, he said the company is more confident about the future of 5G, but noted there is still a long way to go. “The technical specifications and standards are still evolving, we really need accelerated support for standalone and operating costs on 5G networks are increasing not decreasing.”

He also highlighted said cloud-network convergence as a major trend, with 5G networks to be seamlessly connected with the cloud. Customer’s security also is a top priority.

He noted new technologies, particularly 5G, had played a key role in controlling and containing the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.