China deployed nearly 3 million 5G base stations at end-June

5G networks study

Chinese operators have outperformed the country’s own construction target for 5G base stations, deploying almost 3 million by the end of June, six months ahead of schedule, according to a report by South China Morning Post.

According to the report, Chinese operators deployed nearly 600,000 5G base stations in the April-June period alone.

“As of the end of June, the number of 5G base stations in China had reached 2.937 million, covering all urban areas of prefecture-level and county-level cities and the coverage is continuously expanding in both breadth and depth,” said Zhao Zhiguo, chief engineer at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

A separate report by the Global Times stated that China will explore more use scenarios for 5G technology in a wide range of sectors including industry, mineral mining and ports operation, with more than 3,000 enterprises expected to build 5G-wired factories in 2023.

5G has been applied in 60 major economic categories in China and is expanding to sectors including manufacturing, medical treatment, education and transport, Zhao said.

The report also highlighted that the Chinese authorities will continue to expand 5G coverage in major scenarios in urban areas as well as rural regions. In addition, efforts will also be made to promote 5G RedCap’s development to further reduce costs and increase application scale, according to Zhao.

The government also announced plans to boost R&D efforts in the 6G field. “The government agency will continue to promote 6G technology R&D, conduct technological tests and deepen exchanges and cooperation to accelerate the development of 6G,” he said.

As of the end of June, the number of 5G smartphone users in China reached 676 million, while the total base of connected Internet of things (IoT) devices amounted to 2.12 billion, according to the MIIT.

China is forecasted to reach 1 billion 5G subscribers by 2025, while the number of 5G users by 2030 is expected to reach 1.6 billion, according to a recent report by the GSMA.

In 2022, mobile technologies and services generated 5.5% of China’s GDP – a contribution that amounted to $1.1 trillion of economic value added. According to the report, 5G technology will add $290 billion to the Chinese economy in 2030, with benefits spread across industries.

5G will overtake 4G in 2024 to become the dominant mobile technology in China, according to the report. “4G and 5G dominance in China means legacy networks are now being phased out. While most users have been migrated to 4G and 5G, legacy networks continue to support various IoT services. However, some estimates suggest that legacy networks could be almost entirely shut down in China by 2025,” the study reads.

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