China to Add Over 600,000 5G Base Stations in 2023, Reaching a Staggering 2.9 mn

China is making significant strides in expanding its 5G network infrastructure, with new research indicating that it is set to add over 600,000 5G base stations by the end of 2023, reaching a staggering 2.9 million. This comes after the successful deployment of the world’s largest 5G network, consisting of 2.3 million 5G base stations, achieved by the end of 2022.
China 5G base stationsThe number of 5G base stations in China exceeded 2.84 million by the end of May, Wang Jiangping, vice minister of industry and information technology, said during the ongoing Global Digital Economy Conference 2023 held in Beijing in July.

One of the key milestones in China’s 5G journey occurred in May 2023 when all four major mobile operators in the country — China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, and China Broadnet — joined forces in a historic collaboration. Under the guidance of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), they announced the launch of the world’s first 5G inter-network roaming service trial. This groundbreaking service enables customers to seamlessly access other telecom operators’ 5G networks and continue using 5G services even when outside their original operators’ coverage areas, according to Omdia research on telecom services.

Ramona Zhao, Research Manager at Omdia, expressed optimism about the impact of inter-network roaming on 5G network coverage, particularly in rural areas. The enhanced coverage is expected to propel 5G ahead of 4G and become the dominant technology in China’s mobile market by 2026. Omdia predicts that 5G will account for a substantial 65.1 percent of total mobile subscriptions, including IoT connections, by the end of 2028.

Omdia has recognized China as a global pioneer in various aspects of 5G technology, from innovation to network deployment and practical use cases. As a result of the increasing adoption of 5G, Chinese service providers have witnessed notable growth in mobile service revenue and reported mobile Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) in 2022.

China Telecom reported an impressive 3.7 percent increase in mobile service revenue, while China Unicom’s mobile service revenue saw an increase of 3.6 percent. China Mobile also experienced growth with a 2.5 percent increase in mobile service revenue.

In addition to the success of 5G, Chinese service providers are tapping into the digital transformation demand from state-owned enterprises, leading to the growth of cloud services as a lucrative business for them.

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in June said it will make the 6GHz spectrum available for 5G and 6G systems from July 1.

China is the first globally to provide the 6GHz band (6,425-7,125 MHz), or portions thereof, for International Mobile Telecommunications services.

Looking forward, Omdia recommends that Chinese service providers focus on innovative applications by integrating cloud services and 5G networks. This approach will play a vital role in enabling digital transformation across various industries and generating new revenue streams for the operators.

China’s commitment to 5G expansion, coupled with its strides in technological innovation, positions the country as a frontrunner in the global 5G race, paving the way for a more connected and digitally advanced future.