Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei is developing a 5G mobile network that aims to be a thousand times more powerful than current 4G technology and which can transfer up to 10 gigabytes per second, reports the Chinese-language Economic Observer.

Huawei, which last year overtook Ericsson as the world's leading telecommunications equipment maker, is investing US$600 million over five years and has employed 200 researchers in Canada and the United Kingdom in the hope of introducing the next-gen technology by 2020.

Rahim Tafazolli, director of the 5G Innovation Centre at the the University of Surrey in the UK, says the world already has 14 billion connected terminals but 90% of all things still remain unconnected. He adds that the real killer app of the future is not the music or video people speak of today, but the Internet of Things — a reference to uniquely identifiable objects and their virtual representations in an internet-like structure.

According to Huawei's vision, the network capabilities of its 5G base station will be a thousand times that of the current 4G technology, with the ability to transfer data at 10gb/s and with a propagation delay of less than one millisecond.

Huawei began the early stages of its 5G technology research back in 2009 and showed off 5G base station prototypes with industry-leading peak transfer rates of 50gb/s at the Mobile World Congress in both 2011 and 2012.

Huawei is also an important sponsor and research partner of the 5G Innovation Centre, which was established in 2012. Apart from Huawei, the consortium also includes South Korea's Samsung, Spain's Telefonica, Germany's Rohde & Schwarz and Japan's Fujitsu Laboratories of Europe. Together they have invested around £24 million (US$40.5 million) to jointly develop and standardize the next-generation mobile technology standard.

Huawei's rotating CEO Xu Zhijun warned that there are still many challenges that have to be resolved before the commercialization of 5G technology can be realized, such as spectrum allocation and other technical obstacles.