Chinese vendor ZTE has said it plans to launch a ‘pre-5G’ testing base station in 2015, commercial use of which will be possible in 2016, following tests and adjustment.

Pre-5G technology is a concept the company first proposed at a summit in Amsterdam at a time when industry insiders said 5G technology would not be deployed in the market before 2020.

ZTE claims that pre-5G will be available much sooner and will deliver a comparable user experience to eventual 5G technology, offering high throughput and low latency. The Chinese firm claims pre-5G technology will incorporate certain “key” 5G technologies which can be run over existing 4G LTE equipment (for example, Massive MIMO – Multiple-Input Multiple-Output – technology).

“To get equipped with all these characteristics, ZTE still needs to do a lot of research and innovation in the technical details,” the company said in a statement.

According to Dr. Xiang Jiying, ZTE’s CTO of wireless products, “Before the pre-5G concept was put forward, there were industry concerns over 5G, for the concept had not been defined properly. In contrast, ‘5G-like user experience’ and ‘5G key technology’ seems much more easily understood.”

“It is impossible to define pre-5G under the circumstance that there are no 5G standards,” he added.