China Mobile said its existing 5G infrastructure already covers 85% of the country’s population
China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile operator in terms of subscribers, has already deployed 1.7 million 5G base stations across China, Chinese news site Shine reported, citing Li Huidi, China Mobile’s vice general manager.
Chinese operators have so far deployed a total of 2.7 million 5G base stations across the country, according to recent press reports.
According to Li, China Mobile’s existing 5G infrastructure already covers 85% of the country’s population. The telco also has 470 million 5G mobile users, according to the report.
During Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2023, which took place in Shanghai, China, last week, China Mobile announced an upgrade of its 5G infrastructure. The telco said that its “5.5G” network will feature energy efficiency, enhanced computing capabilities as well as support for artificial intelligence and metaverse applications.
The report noted that China Mobile’s 5G network upgrade supports new applications such as AI and metaverse as well as a wider range of industry integration, including an ongoing autonomous driving test in Shanghai.
China Mobile’s 5G network will be an “AI self-intelligent, cloud integration, low-carbon and efficient network” in the future, Li said.
The company also noted that the network upgrade will also enable the provision of new offerings such as 5G New Radio calling. China Mobile’s 5G calling service is being trialed in a number of regions across China. The company expects to commercially launch the service in the last quarter of this year.
According to recent reports, Chinese vendor Huawei Technologies has secured over half of a major contract to deploy 5G mobile base stations for local carrier China Mobile. According to the report, the vendor obtained over 50% of the total of China Mobile’s centralized procurement program in 2023.
The report also stated that Huawei will provide 5G base stations for different frequency bands. The bands ranging from 2.6 GHz to 4.9 GHz will have around 63,800 stations, divided into two projects, while the number of base stations to operate in the 700 MHz band will be 23,100, divided into three projects.
This year, China Mobile expects its capex to reach CNY183.2 billion ($25.6 billion), slightly down compared to investments in the last two years. The carrier will invest CNY83 billion on 5G networks, which is more than 10% less than in 2022.
China Mobile recently highlighted its growing presence in the 5G private market, saying that by the end of December 2022, it has signed more than 18,000 agreements for 5G commercial projects across multiple sectors. “We achieved industry leadership in segments including smart mining, smart factories, smart grid, smart hospitals, smart city and autonomous driving,” the telco said in its latest earnings statement.