China Mobile, the world’s largest wireless operator by subscribers, has begun work on developing 5G technology to follow on the heels of its success with 4G, Xinhua reports. Xi Guohua, the chairman of the cellco’s board made the announcement at the China Enterprise Development Forum, but did not give further details on the project. The move has been taken to suggest that the company is looking to maintain its leading position in China, whilst it could also leverage its massive customer base to steer the development and standardisation of the new technology.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, China Mobile has quickly grown to become the largest 4G provider in the year since it launched its Time Division Long Term Evolution (TD-LTE) network. Mobile inaugurated its network in December 2013 and by mid-2014 it had made it into the top ten providers, having overtaken several entrenched Japanese and Korean cellcos. By September 2014, and with 40.95 million LTE subscribers, the cellco was the second largest provider of 4G services in the world behind US-based Verizon, which counted 59.4 million users at that date. In the subsequent three months Mobile more than doubled its 4G user base to 90.06 million, racing ahead of the former market leader.