China has successfully tested access to a 5G signal while at sea using a low-Earth orbit (LEO) communication satellite.
Through China's first low-orbit broadband communication verification system, technicians set up space-based 5G return channels at sea and successfully made offshore video and voice calls via a 5G phone. They also conducted other smart ship experiments based on the Internet of Things (IoT) like collecting and sending data from crew members.
"The LEO satellites could form a constellation system which will cover the whole globe," said Li Yanbin, deputy general manager of CASIC Space Engineering Development Co, a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC).
One CASIC employee, Wang Chong, said the satellite network will enable mobile communication to be accessible everywhere on the planet.
"If we set up the satellite network, typically a global one, our fishermen or vessels would send back signals wherever they are. In that case, they can communicate with their families at any time and call for help when they face strong headwinds or other dangerous situations," said Wang.
China launched its first LEO broadband communication test satellite into orbit in 2018, with an aim of forming a 5G satellite network with signals accessible from anywhere, even in traditionally blind spots like deserts, the sky and the ocean.