China leading the pack in uncrackable quantum communications
After 5G, AI and space exploration, China has elbowed its way to the front of the pack in another key technology – quantum communications. It achieved a major breakthrough early this year with the world’s first satellite-to-earth quantum communication network.
A University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) team carried out multi-user quantum key distribution, creating an uncrackable connection across 4,600 kilometers.
The test integrated China’sMicius quantum satellite with China Telecom’s terrestrial fiber network to create the world’s first quantum wide area network.
The quantum research projects have backing from the highest level. Quantum is a priority target of the latest five-year plan and was a study topic for the politburo, the communist party’s highest body, in October 2020.
China Telecom, the designated quantum telco partner, has some big ambitions of its own. In September 2021, it announced a joint venture with QuantumCTek, a USTC spinoff, to carry out R&D into quantum technology and develop it commercially. The partners said they aimed to integrate quantum communications with other technologies such as 5G, big data and cloud.
In January China Telecom announced a secure quantum phone service using a dedicated SIM and 5G app, available for users in Anhui province.
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