China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) 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, local newspaper China Daily reported.
China aims to have about 3.64 million 5G base stations by the end of 2025. That’s 26 5G base stations for every 10,000 people. In comparison, there were only five 5G base stations for every 10,000 people in China in 2020.
Xie Cun, director of MIIT, said the overall goal proposed in a five-year plan for the information and communication industry is to basically build a high-speed, ubiquitous, smart, green, safe and reliable new digital infrastructure by 2025.
The plan also proposed that the penetration rate of 5G users in China will increase from 15 percent in 2020 to 56 percent in 2021, and by then, 80 percent of China’s administrative villages will have 5G signal accessibility.
Xie said that China so far has already built more than 1.15 million 5G base stations, accounting for more than 70 percent of the global total, and 5G network coverage has been achieved in urban areas of all prefecture-level cities, 97 percent of counties and 40 percent of rural towns across the country.
The 5G mobile subscriber accounts in China, numbering some 450 million, make up over 80 percent of the global total, Xie added.
The five-year plan also forecast that by the end of 2025, the information and communication industry will maintain an annual growth rate of about 10 percent to reach a total revenue of 4.3 trillion yuan ($674.2 billion) in 2025. The plan also forecast that the cumulative investment in telecom infrastructure will increase from 2.5 trillion yuan in 2020 to 3.7 trillion yuan in 2025.
Widening the industrial use of 5G will also be a key focus for China. Xie said 5G has already been used in 22 industries. The application of 5G in industrial manufacturing, mining and ports is relatively mature, where 5G has been expanded from production assistance to core businesses such as equipment control and quality control. Meanwhile, a number of 5G-powered applications have also emerged in industries such as medical care, education and entertainment.
“In the next step, we will work with other parties to focus on promoting 5G applications in 15 industries that target information consumption, real economy and people’s livelihood services,” Xie said.
Wang Zhiqin, deputy head of the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, a government think tank, said China is likely to achieve several breakthroughs in 5G technological evolution, network construction and applications by 2025.
“By the end of the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25), China will have built the world’s largest and most extensive stand-alone 5G network and basically achieve full network coverage in urban and rural areas,” Wang said.
Ding Yun, president of Huawei Technologies carrier business group, said:
“5G is no longer for early adopters. It is improving our daily lives. This year is the first year with large-scale 5G industry applications. Operators will need new capabilities in network planning, deployment, maintenance, optimization and operations, in order to achieve zero to one, and replicate success from one to many.”
Technicians check a 5G base station in Tongling, Anhui province, China
[Photo by Guo Shining/For China Daily]
Chinese operators recorded a net gain of 43.88 million 5G subscribers in September, according to the carriers’ latest available figures.
China Mobile, the world’s largest operator in terms of subscribers, added a total of 27.08 million 5G subscribers in September. The state owned #1 carrier said it ended last month with 331.22 million 5G subscribers, compared to 113.59 million 5G customers in September 2020. China Mobile has added a total of 166.22 million subscribers in the 5G segment since the beginning of the year.
Rival operator China Unicom said it added a total of 7.88 million 5G subscribers during last month. During the first nine months of the year, the carrier added a total of 66.11 million 5G subscribers. The telco ended September with 136.94 million 5G subscribers. China Unicom started to provide 5G statistics earlier this year.
China Telecom added 8.92 million 5G subscribers in September to take its total 5G subscribers base to 155.54 million. During the January-September period, the telco added a total of 69.04 million 5G subscribers.