5G deployments boost China Tower’s business in 2020

China Tower’s business last year was positively impacted by the accelerated deployment of 5G sites across China, the company said in its earnings release.

During 2020, the company’s net profit grew 23.1% year-on-year to CNY6.4 billion ($980.2 million) while operating revenue increased 6.1% to CNY81.1 billion.

Tower business revenues grew by 2.8% year-on-year to CNY73.37 billion, while sales from the trans-sector site application and information (TSSAI) business grew by 92.8% year-on-year to CNY2.6 billion. Turnover from trans-sector site application and information (TSSAI), and energy operation businesses climbed 89.4% to CNY3.94 billion.

China Tower’s DAS revenue for the full-yea 2020 amounted to CNY3.53 billion, up 32.7% year-on-year. This unit provides indoor sites for subways, commercial buildings, airports and other public venues.

The company reported 2.02 million tower sites under management at year-end, up 29,000 for the year, with an additional 12,000 tenants at 3.175 million.

“In 2020, in view of the accelerated 5G network deployment and the scaling of 5G construction, we strengthened the market-oriented approach with customer demands and 5G new features in mind. We continued to drive resource sharing by making full use of both existing resources and social resources and stepping up technological and product innovation to drive construction and service model transformation,” the company said in a statement. “By accelerating the implementation of our integrated wireless communications coverage solutions, we were able to meet customer demands with cost-effective, intensive and high-performing network coverage solutions.”

China Tower was formed in 2014, when the country’s mobile carrier China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom transferred their telecom towers to the new company. The three telcos decided to create the new entity in a move to reduce redundant construction of telecommunications infrastructure across the country. China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom currently own a 38%, 28.1% and 27.9% stake respectively. State-owned asset manager China Reform Holding owns the remaining 6%.

Chinese operators have deployed nearly 700,000 new 5G base stations in 2020, in addition to about 100,000 5G base stations built in 2019.

Local carriers say that they already provide 5G coverage in all Chinese cities at prefecture level and above.

In June 2019, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) officially issued licenses for the launch of commercial 5G networks in the country. Those 5G permits were granted to China Mobile, China Unicom, China Telecom and state-owned broadcaster China Broadcasting Network.

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