China Aces in Number of 5G Users in Less than a Year

More than 110 million users in China have subscribed for 5G plans, according to the president of the China Academy for Information and Communications Technology (CAICT). It is a think tank under the telecoms watchdog Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. The announcement was made at an industry event on Wednesday.

A Multi-Focused Effort

That makes China the biggest 5G market in terms of user size, the think tank president claimed. The milestone has surfaced in less than a year after China’s top carriers launched 5G plans for its consumers, and just over a year after the authority started providing 5G licenses for commercial use.

The number is still a small fraction of the overall subscription. In June, three state-run carriers of China collectively commanded some 1.6 billion mobile subscribers (speculating China’s 1.4 billion population owned more than one mobile device per capita).

The 5G ambition of China is a multi-focused effort among the government, network carriers, telecoms equipment makers, device makers, and software developers. Policymakers require to exhibit consumers substantial improvement on network speed, and as such the carriers have been extensively setting up 5G base stations all over the country, more than 460,000 towers by July.

Surge in Manufacturing of 5G Devices

China was installing an average of 15,000 new 5G base stations every week, said an official in July. The government has plans to amplify that number to 600,000 by the end of 2020, covering all prefectural-level cities nationwide. A crystal clear winner in China’s 5G race is Huawei, which manufactures both 5G devices and the infrastructure that provides the base to the next-gen network.

In the meantime, Huawei, Oppo, Xiaomi, and their rivals are hurrying to roll out 5G compatible handsets. So far, China has sold more than 93 million units of 5G mobile phones this year according to the latest data provided by CAICT. In August, 5G phones accounted for 60% of total shipments.

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China’s quick leap towards 5G is also propelling the requirement for new hardware parts such as integrated circuits. The country generated over 100 billion units of ICs during the first half of 2020, pointing towards a 16.4% year-over-year gain, explained an industry official in July. The official also added that much of the demand came from 5G-related projects.