(AsiaTimes) China Telecom is now among the first-movers to heed Beijing’s quantum call. Quantum is the latest buzzword in China Telecom’s new commercials now being aired nationwide.
Xinhua reported in October that President Xi Jinping convened a Politburo meeting and invited a vice-president of Tsinghua University to draw out the principles and potential of quantum physics and put forth policy recommendations.
Still, Xi said China must get ahead of the curve to develop quantum computers, sensors, cryptography and communications networks.
At its annual services and products expo in November in Guangzhou, the state-owned carrier China Telecom unveiled two handsets developed with Huawei and ZTE, claiming that calls from and to these devices as well as the data flowing through them would be unhackable.
The two models appear to be only modestly upgraded versions of Huawei’s Mate 40 and ZTE’s Axon 20 handsets, with a “quantum encryption chip” being the only new drawcard, according to a specification leaflet viewed by Asia Times. A user can switch between two modes – regular cellular service or an encrypted mode – when making a call.
China Telecom will also launch “quantum SIM cards” to enable similar encryption protection on phones already on the market. But to enable such encrypted calls and messaging, the other end user will also need such a SIM card.
In November, China Telecom formed a joint venture with QuantumCTek, a listed company owned by the University of Science and Technology of China, to expand the quantum communications network linking Beijing and Shanghai.
The Beijing-Shanghai quantum link is said to be the first in the world in pilot commercial use for select government agencies and state-owned enterprises in finance, energy and defense sectors to transmit sensitive, proprietary information and files.