July 10, 2015 / 5:13 AM / 2 years ago

China's ZTE to partner with Softbank on 'pre-5G' technology in Japan

The company logo of ZTE is seen through a wooden fence on a glass door during the company's 15th anniversary celebration in Beijing April 18, 2013. REUTERS/Barry Huang

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Chinese telecommunications equipment maker ZTE Corp said on Friday it has struck a deal with SoftBank Corp to deploy its “pre-5G” technology in Japan, with a commercial trial to begin early next year.

ZTE has touted its “pre-5G” technology as providing faster speeds on 4G network. It sees it as intermediate step between current 4G technology and 5G, the next generation of networks that the wireless industry is hoping to have up and running by 2020.

ZTE’s Vice President Li Cui said ZTE plans to set up a research and development center for wireless technologies in Tokyo by the end of 2015, but declined to say how much it planned to invest in Japan.

Globally, the company plans to invest 200 million euros ($220 million) in 5G and mobile communication technologies between 2015 to 2018.

“Our goal is to utilize core 5G technologies on existing commercial networks...so users can enjoy the 5G-like experience ahead of time,” she told Reuters in an interview.

Shenzhen-based ZTE posted a 42 percent rise in quarterly net profit in April as strong global demand for 4G infrastructure boosted sales.

Reporting by Yimou Lee; Editing by Edwina Gibbs

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