By Juan Pedro Tomás
China carriers will deploy a total of 500,000 5G base stations this year, Chinese press reported, citing information provided by the country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).
The increase in 5G infrastructure has the main aim of boosting the digital economy in China, according to the report.
By the end of March, Chinese operators had already installed 198,000 5G base stations and had 50 million 5G users, the Chinese government said said.
“5G, as an important engine of the digital economy, is a key new infrastructure to realize the interconnection of all things and devices,” a MIIT spokesman Wen Ku, reportedly said.
“It has an important role in steadily investing, promoting consumption and helping upgrades in the face of the huge impact of the pandemic,” Wen added.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, 5G applications have been adopted in the sectors such as the “internet of vehicles”, the Industrial Internet and remote medical treatment. Applications like robots, touch-less sterilization, work-at-home and online education have become reality with 5G, the MIIT said.
The Chinese government also highlighted that further 5G deployments would stabilize investment, enhance value-chain development and deepen synergies between telecommunications and other industries.
China has already approved 96 5G smartphone models, which compares with 39 models by the end of last year.
Earlier last week, China Mobile, the world’s largest operators in terms of subscribers, said it has added 29.17 million 5G subscribers in the first quarter of 2020. The carrier said it ended March with a total of 31.72 million 5G subscribers, compared to 2.55 million 5G customers at the end of last year.
In a new phase of its 5G programme, China Mobile is aiming to acquire over 232,000 5G base stations as it looks to extend coverage to 28 regions across China.
The Chinese carrier has already completed the first phase of its 5G network deployment.
China Mobile had already deployed nearly 50,000 5G base stations across the country as of the end of last year and currently provides 5G technology in 50 cities across China.
China Unicom said it will work with China Telecom to deploy 250,000 5G base stations across the country by the end of the third quarter.
In the first half of the year, the two operators seek to build 100,000 5G base stations in 47 prefectures and cities.
As of February 20, China Unicom had installed 64,000 5G base stations across the country.
In June 2019, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) officially issued licenses for the launch of commercial 5G networks in the country. Those 5G permits were granted to China Mobile, China Unicom, China Telecom and state-owned broadcaster China Broadcasting Network.