China is comfortably on course to reach its goal of building 500,000 5G base stations by end-2020, with more than 480,000 – or 96% of the annual target – already completed. The update was disclosed by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) director Wen Ku, at a conference in Beijing last week.
Last month, the Mayor of Shenzen, Chen Rugui, claimed that his city was the first in the world to achieve ‘full 5G coverage’. The tech hub – often referred to as China’s answer to Silicon Valley – is said to be home to 46,000 5G cell sites.
While June 2020 operational data from China Mobile (70.199 million ‘5G package customers’) and China Telecom (37.840 million ‘5G package subscribers’) places the total number of Chinese 5G subscribers at well over 100 million (note: China Unicom does not disclose 5G figures), MIIT minister Xiao Yaqing noted that the number of actual 5G users is closer to 60 million. The figure was divulged at the same event, but the reason for the discrepancy was not explained, suggesting that not all 5G package subscribers are in possession of a 5G-capable handset.