China Mobile Adds Over 24 Million 5G Subscribers In February


By Juan Pedro Tomás

China Mobile, the world’s largest operator in terms of subscribers, added a total of 24.14 million 5G subscribers during February.

The carrier said it ended the second month of the year with 425.42 million 5G subscribers, compared to 401.29 million 5G customers in January.

China Mobile has added a total of 221.8 million subscribers in the 5G segment during 2021.

China Mobile’s overall mobile subscriber base at the end of February reached 960.76 million, slightly down compared to 961.38 million in the previous month.

The Chinese telco said net profit for full 2021 was CNY116.15 billion (US$18.23 billion), while the company’s 2021 revenue was CNY848.26 billion.

In a statement, Chairman Yang Jie noted that revenue related to digital transformation projects became its largest revenue growth driver during the year. “In 2021, faced with various obstacles and challenges including the prevention and control of COVID-19, the disruption of industrial supply chains and the need for business transformation, we managed to mobilize everyone at China Mobile to work together and firmly seize the opportunities arising from the accelerated digital transformation of the economy and society,” the executive said.

“We fully implemented our “5G+” plan while deepening network co-construction and sharing with China Broadcasting Network Corporation Limited. Leveraging these efforts, we were able to yield the combined advantages of the 2.6GHz/4.9GHz capacity and 700MHz coverage to create synergy from a multifrequency network and enable efficient deployment, making our high-quality 5G offering more practical, open and secure,” Yang added.

The executive also said that the telco’s 5G-related investments last year amounted to CNY114.0 billion.

China ended 2021 with a total of 1.43 million 5G base stations across the country, Chinese press reported citing data from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

The ministry said that Chinese operators have deployed a total of 654,000 base stations nationwide during last year.

The 5G network now covers all prefecture-level cities, more than 98 per cent of county-level urban areas and 80 per cent of township-level urban areas across the country, said a spokesperson for the MIIT, Zhao Zhiguo.

Shipments of 5G smartphones last year increased by 63.5 percent year on year to reach 266 million units, Zhao said.

China expects to see the number of 5G users exceed 560 million by 2023, according to a government guideline released in July. By then, the 5G network is expected to be used by over 40 per cent of personal mobile phone users, and every 10,000 people in China will enjoy more than 18 5G base stations, the guideline said.

MIIT recently unveiled plans to more than triple the number of 5G base stations over the next four years, targeting a total of 3.64 million by end-2025.

Under this plan, China aims to have 26 5G base stations for every 10,000 people by the end of 2025. In comparison, in 2020, there were five 5G base stations for every 10,000 people in China.

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