According to reports in the Chinese press, the country’s leading operator is targeting the signing of some 70 million 5G users by the end of 2020.
China Mobile is already the world’s largest mobile operator, but it clearly taking the challenge of 5G competition seriously. Attracting 70 million 5G users will mean an investment of some $2.85 billion, according to China Daily.
In addition Yang Jie, the operator’s chairman, has been quoted as saying, during a conference in Guangzhou, that the company plans a 5G investment over the next five years of an astonishing $14.2 billion. The company began its 5G launch in late October in about 50 cities and plans to deploy 50,000 5G sites by the end of the year.
There certainly seems to be an appetite for 5G in the country. The China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (a scientific research institute directly under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) of China) has reportedly said that shipments of 5G mobile phones in China saw a more than 400 percent surge month-on-month in October.
While domestic mobile phone shipments in China were down at around 36 million units in the same month, 5G mobile phone shipments, from an admittedly lower base, were up sharply to nearly 2.5 million units, from just under half a million a month previously.
This figure will probably continue to rise sharply. According to Chen Fengwei, a vice-general manager in charge of terminals and channels of China Unicom, quoted in the China Securities Journal, the market share of 5G mobile phones in China is likely to exceed 26 percent next year totalling some 100 million units.