China Telecom ends February with 10.7 million 5G subscribers


China Telecom ended February with a total of 10.73 million subscribers in the 5G segment, the carrier said in a presentation.

The operator also confirmed plans to spend 45.3 billion yuan ($6.4 billion) on 5G in 2020, up compared to 9.3 billion yuan in 2019.

In its 2019 full-year results presentation, China Telecom said last year 5G comprised just 12% of its total capex. This year, 5G will represent 53% of the telco’s overall capex.

“The company will push forward 5G network construction on all fronts,” said Chairman and CEO Ke Ruiwen.

The firm also said it is targeting a goal of 60-80 million 5G subscribers by the end of this year.

China Telecom has already deployed 40,000 5G base stations across China and co-shared another 20,000 with rival operator China Unicom in 2019, covering 50 cities under a network-sharing deal. Both carriers target having around 300,000 compatible base stations in use by end-2020.

The operator’s subscriber base fell 5.17 million over the first two months of the year to 330.4 million. China Telecom said it will no longer publish 4G figures: it ended 2019 with 281 million such users.

Meanwhile, China Unicom said it earmarked 70 billion yuan in capex for 2020, a 24.1% increase, with half going to 5G infrastructure. China Unicom had invested 7.9 billion yuan in 5G last year. The telco also said it had access to more than 60,000 5G base stations in 2019.

China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile operator in terms of subscribers, ended February 2020 with a total of 15.4 million subscribers in the 5G segment.This compares with 6.74 million 5G subscribers in January and 2.55 million subscribers in December 2019.

Currently, China Mobile offers 5G services in 50 cities across China. The service is offered through over 50,000 5G base stations. The operator is aiming to have a total of 300,000 5G sites across China by the end of 2020.

China Mobile has recently launched a tender for the second phase of its 5G network rollout, according to recent Chinese press reports

In the new phase of its 5G program, China Mobile is aiming to acquire over 232,000 5G base stations as it looks to extend coverage to 28 regions across the country.

5G technology will account for almost half of China’s overall mobile connections by 2025, according to a recent study by the GSMA.

The 2020 China edition of the GSMA’s ‘Mobile Economy’ series, forecasts that China will have  an adoption rate on a par with other leading 5G markets such as Japan, South Korea and the U.S.

According to the report, China will have 807 million subscribers in the 5G segment by 2025, while 5G subscriptions in North America and Europe will reach 205 million and 235 million respectively.





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