China to have full 5G network coverage within 7 years

By Chi Jingyi Source:Global Times Published: 2019/12/18 18:18:40

A Huawei 5G mining machine displayed at the Mobile World Congress in Shanghai in June 2019 Photo: VCG

It will take China about seven years to build 6 million 5G base stations nationwide, at a total cost of 1.2 trillion yuan ($171 billion) to 1.5 trillion yuan, which means that the nation will have full 5G coverage by 2027, said a former official on Wednesday.

China will have built at least 150,000 5G base stations by the end of the year, covering more than 40 pilot cities nationwide, said Li Yizhong, former minister of Industry and Information Technology, during a forum. 

Bernstein Research estimates South Korea will be have 75,000 base stations for 5G at the end of 2019, followed by the US with 10,000, the Wall Street Journal reported in October.

Xiang Ligang, an expert in the telecoms industry, said that 5G network coverage in China's urban areas can be basically achieved within three years. 

"China has completed 4G deployment nationwide. Whether a 5G network should be built in rural areas depends on its economic benefits," Xiang told the Global Times on Wednesday.

China will be the largest 5G market in the world by 2025, accounting for 30 percent of global connectivity, said a report released by the China Center for International Economic Exchanges.

"Now that many 5G mobile phones are already on the market, next year 5G phones will be better and cheaper, as well as other 5G terminal products. This situation will develop more application scenarios," Li noted.

Xiaomi opened presales of the world's cheapest 5G mobile phone -- the Redmi K30 -- on Monday, at a price of 1,999 yuan ($285).

"The cost of 5G mobile phones will fall much faster than it did in the 4G era," said Xiang.

A total of 2.5 million 5G mobile phones were shipped in China in October 2019, and the number rose to 5.07 million in November, according to data released by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology.

The market for 5G mobile phones is expected to exceed 150 million in 2020, and 5G mobile phones are expected to be popularized rapidly with lower prices by the end of next year, according to a white paper released by China Mobile.

"5G terminals will be dominated by mobile phones in the near future, but the proportion of other terminal products will increase significantly, such as wearable devices, drones and more exotic industrial devices," Ma Jihua, a veteran industry analyst, told the Global Times.

Newspaper headline: Nation to have full 5G coverage in 7 years


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