ZTE leads the pack when it comes to telecoms tech

Johannesburg, 28 Mar 2024
ZTE’s Senior Vice-President and Chief Strategy Officer, Xiang Wang.
ZTE’s Senior Vice-President and Chief Strategy Officer, Xiang Wang.

There is a huge evolution happening in telecoms as the world shifts from 5G to 6G, resulting in a disruption to the market as new devices, applications and backbone equipment need to evolve. At the same time, communications are being enhanced with a focus on convergence. And ZTE is at the forefront of these changes.

ZTE’s Senior Vice-President and Chief Strategy Officer, Xiang Wang, tells ITWeb that these enhancements to networks will assist in ensuring that mobile coverage is, for example, expanded to rural areas. “We are not just evolving; we are also making enhancements to the network.”

These patterns in the shifting landscape can be seen in the trends from the recent Mobile World Congress, held in Barcelona, which indicated some key developments for the future of technology, especially AI.

“When it comes to devices, we are seeing a lot of new terminals, smartphones, set-top boxes and other items all being brought to the public.”

In 2024, almost 300 new enterprises attended the show, an indication that there are increasingly new applications of technology, says Xiang. Visitors were at 95% in terms of volume when compared with 2019, which shows that the exhibition has almost recovered to pre-COVID-19 levels.


In 2024, 50G PON will become a massive development, says Xiang. ZTE has co-operated with over 30 operators in trials and demonstrations of 50G PON, including operators from China, Thailand, Turkey and Germany.

Broadband is evolving, which has the benefits of the higher throughput to run artificial intelligence applications, says Xiang. “In the last decade, we have seen a tenfold increase in the development of FTTX, and this is becoming a larger part of our revenue. We are committed to investing in fixed broadband.”

Yet, he says, the end-user wants the stability of fibre when it comes to the mobile experience. “We are using WiFi 7 combined with fixed broadband to provide superior connectivity at home and at the office.”

WiFi 7 is an improvement over WiFi 6 and 6E and could offer speeds of up to four times faster. It also helps reduce latency, increase capacity and boost stability and efficiency.

Xiang notes that ZTE is working to bridge the gap between those who have connectivity and many who have been left out of this technological benefit that has changed how the world interacts. “We see fibre as going mainstream. We are working hard to bridge the digital divide.”

In 2002, when Xiang visited South Africa for the first time, he noted that African communication access lagged that of the developed world by 39 times. While that number has dropped to 20 times, it’s still too big.

“ZTE is putting resources in place to help with these issues, such as designing technology that is more affordable for Africans.” ZTE is targeting releasing devices in the $20 to $40 range.

A vital aspect of technology is being green. “We were honoured to make the CDP A list last year, which is quite an accolade. Only 2% of companies globally earn this title, and we were one of two companies in China,” notes Xiang.

The non-profit charity, CDP, runs the global disclosure system for investors, companies, cities, states and regions to manage their environmental impacts.

Bringing green technology to end-users is also vital, says Xiang. ZTE offers solutions across the power sector that are suitable for less dense areas, such as solar power. The leading telecoms company also has household power storage solutions for families that are cost-effective.

“We need to collaborate with each other to develop new applications and deal with challenges facing society, such as low economic growth,” says Xiang. “Our vision is growing connectivity and the ecosystem to connect the world. We are determined to do this.”


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