Unicom and ZTE Make History with First 5G Call

In what could be the biggest breakthrough in communications history, ZTE and China Unicom proclaimed that they have completed the first 5G call through the former’s prototype smartphone.


Vanilla Plus reported that international telecom provider ZTE Corporation made the big announcement. The conglomerate said the call was completed in Shenzhen’s 5G test field and used a number of platforms to check whether the network is able to handle tasks efficiently.


The successful test completed verification processes in various services, including online video calls, web browsing, and Wechat group video call, confirming that China Unicom’s Shenzhen test field has become the first commercial site to complete a call using the highly-debated 5G network.

Aside from the apparent accomplishments, the breakthrough is also the first NSA-mode completed call that complied with 3GPP Rel-15 terms. ZTE said of the call, “This achievement has made Shenzhen field of China Unicom become the world’s first commercial test field to make the first call in the NSA mode and it is in compliance with the 3GPP Rel-15.”

ZTE’s 5G prototype smartphone aims to bridge a wide range of gaps in communication and other aspects. Through the test, the company may be able to enhance processes in core networks, intelligence devices, transport networks, and radio access networks, among others.

Following the 5G call’s completion, China Unicom’s Shenzhen branch is verifying if ZTE’s 5G network has other capabilities in roaming and interconnection services. If the research comes out with positive results, it could establish a full-blown 5G network that could be used for commercial purposes.

The test call’s success comes after several countries banned ZTE from joining 5G tests, ZD Net reported. Now that the Shenzhen-based company completed a 5G call, rejecting countries may finally open doors for collaboration.


In December, Australian Signals Directorate Director-General Mike Burgess expressed concerns about the security risks of ZTE’s 5G network. He said the stakes are too high and could cause future problems for vendors and other telecommunications providers.

The Chinese company was previously banned from purchasing components made in the United States. While the ban was lifted in July after the tech giant paid a $1.4 billion penalty, some countries are still cautious about working with the company.

On the contrary, some experts are ecstatic about ZTE’s 5G network. Some field analysts believe that the new network can provide definitive solutions to network issues that otherwise have not yet been resolved by older networks.