Wang Jianzhou, director general of the China Association of Public Companies and a former China Mobile chairman, has rejected the concerns over 5G business potential. Wang said that applications for the 5G technology will come in time.
Speaking on the sidelines of China Week event in Beijing, Wang mentioned that attention around 5G is shifting from technical capabilities to use cases following the release of 3GPP specifications for non-standalone New Radio (NR) in December 2017.
“The new focus is on applications. At present, we don’t have an existing business model. Applications and demonstrations conducted at the recent Mobile World Congress are just the imagination of engineers and vendors, and still need to be tested in the market,” he added.
Wang is positive that 5G applications will emerge. He explained that the situation is similar to the year 2000 when governments issued 3G licences, but operators questioned the use cases for the technology. It was only when Steve Jobs launched the iPhone did people realise what 3G was for. I’m sure in several years we will have plenty of use cases based on 5G.
Commenting on the Chinese market, Wang said that he doesn’t see the lack of a clear business model as a problem in the short term because, while prices decline each year, traffic volumes increase faster than those reductions. That is the lesson from 3G to 4G. There was a big price drop with 4G, but operators ended up having a little growth in revenue.
Wang added that in the long term, however, operators need to find new revenue growth drivers.