China set to lead early years of 50G PON

But China Mobile boffin says more work is required before it is commercially ready.

Robert Clark, Contributing Editor, Special to Light Reading

July 10, 2024

2 Min Read
ZTE booth at MWC
ZTE is a major Chinese backer of 50G PON technology.(Source: Jordi Boixareu/Alamy Live News)

Nokia's just-announced 50G PON trial with Google Fiber is a sign the industry is finally moving along to next-gen optical, but it's going to be a slow journey.

For what it's worth – and the numbers suggest it's not worth much – Omdia estimates China will be the sole commercial market for 50G PON kit in 2024 and 2025. For the four years to the end of 2027, China will account for 93% of the global market – amounting to a modest $1.55 billion.

Jaimie Lenderman, principal analyst at Omdia, says the market is seeing initial rollouts of 50G PON this year on a small scale. She forecasts adoption in other Asian markets late in the decade, followed by Western Europe and parts of the Middle East.

Tang Wei, deputy chief of ZTE's fixed network and multimedia product line, describes 50G-PON in press interviews as "the next-generation core technology supporting the all-optical 10G city."

In an interview during MWC Shanghai he predicted 50G PON would show commercial capabilities in 2025 and enter large-scale commercial deployment between 2026 and 2028.

ZTE has its own 50G PON solution and has just launched what it says is the industry's first 50G PON FTTR gateway, achieving downlink speeds of 9.7Gbit/s in demos at Shanghai.

Spoilt for 10G PON ports

Huawei says its 50G PON kit will be commercially deployed this year. It claims it has already run more than 60 trials worldwide.

China has a sizeable 10G PON market to build on, with 25 million ports installed, according to MIIT.

However, Tang says he expects China's first 50G PON deployments in 2025 or 2026 in industry, because of its technological and industrial maturity. Large-scale residential deployment is unlikely until 2027, he predicts.

Zhang Dechao, a senior researcher at the China Mobile Research Institute, says more work needs to be done in resolving performance issues.

He told an industry conference that the telco giant last year carried out the industry's first symmetric 50G PON pilot, and earlier this year it demonstrated converged 50G PON network applications.

But he said key functions, including the power budget and throughput, did not yet meet commercial standards and required further research.

It is too early to get a sense of telco demand for 50G PON, especially when requirements vary. Omdia's Lenderman points out that a small telco is probably going to focus on 10G, but for big operators 50G PON is a way to future-proof.

"Additionally, next-gen PON solutions like 25G PON and 50G PON are compelling for operators looking to drive new revenue streams from applications beyond residential services," Lenderman said.

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About the Author(s)

Robert Clark

Contributing Editor, Special to Light Reading

Robert Clark is an independent technology editor and researcher based in Hong Kong. In addition to contributing to Light Reading, he also has his own blog,  Electric Speech ( 

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