SHANGHAI, CHINA- China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile operator, has plans to deploy 5G commercial cities in over 50 cities across China by the end of this year, the company announced on the sidelines of Mobile World Congress 2019 Shanghai.
The carrier said that it aims to deploy over 50,000 5G base stations across China this year.
The company aims to expand the 5G commercial services to all Chinese cities above the prefecture level by 2020.
China Mobile said it is working to integrate 5G technologies with other new technologies, including artificial intelligence and the internet of things, with the aim of offering specific 5G-based solutions across different sectors in China.
China Mobile also said it expects to invest CNY3 billion ($440 million) for the development of 5G content, including high-definition videos and games.
Earlier this month, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) officially issued licenses for the launch of commercial 5G networks in the country.
The 5G permits were granted to state-run carriers China Mobile, China Unicom, China Telecom and state-owned broadcaster China Broadcasting Network.
At the end of last year, the MIIT issued licenses for 5G trials in a number of cities across China. Commercial rollout of 5G in China was initially expected to occur during 2020. However, the decision by the government to accelerate 5G deployment will trigger investment in the Chinese market.
During the industry event taking place in Shanghai, China this week, the GSMA announced that Asia’s mobile operators are set to invest $370 billion for the deployment of new 5G networks between 2018 and 2025.
Chinese carriers are forecast to invest $184 billion on 5G by 2025, the GSMA said.
The GSMA also highlighted that 24 Asia Pacific markets will have launched 5G technology by 2025 following the recent nationwide launch of 5G technology in South Korea. It is forecast that 5G will contribute almost $900 billion to the region’s economy over the next 15 years.
According to the industry association, China is currently testing 5G across all major cities and provinces, ahead of commercial launches next year. It is forecast that 28% of China’s mobile connections will be running on 5G networks by 2025, accounting for about a third of all 5G connections globally by this point.
“Although 4G still has plenty of headroom for growth across Asia, operators in the region are now investing billions in building-out advanced 5G networks that are facilitating an array of new services for consumers, transforming industry and manufacturing, and driving economic growth,” said Mats Granryd, director general of the GSMA. “As 5G becomes a reality, we call on governments and regulators in the region to actively shape a favorable business environment that encourages investment in advanced networks and allows operators to extend next-generation digital services to all Asia’s citizens.”
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