China still holds number one spot in 5G

The Chinese wing of the GSMA, headed by Sihan Bo Chen (Head of Greater China GSMA) reported that “China has cemented its position as the global 5G leader as a result of significant operator investment and growing enthusiasm amongst consumers and enterprises,” for next generation services in China.

We know from previous reports that this is undoubtedly correct – China is the furthest ahead in comparison to other countries. The worry and slight surprise is that the GSMA seem to be endorsing the success of a country, which isn’t expected to go down so well in the USA. In previous years, the GSMA has gone out on a limb to ensure that the US telecoms industry stays on board and has even somewhat complimented its internationalist perspective towards an open and global 3GPP standards with talk of US leadership in mobile.

This announcement might disappoint the US administration who are trying to knock Huawei off the top spot. China in general and Huawei, are at number one in 5G. China is having success where it matters, in both service and applications deployment, which of course, is the ultimate bonus for all their activity.

The GSMA is now set to publish a series of reports in what it is labelling as ‘GSMA China Week’. This is an annual programme of events that are focused on the development of the mobile industry in China. Obviously, this year’s event will not be happening in person and has now gone online as a result of the continuing coronavirus epidemic. The event includes topics on the latest trends including 5G’s role in recovering from the Covid-19 outbreak in mainland China. 

Inside Telecom have written numerous articles documenting China’s 5G success and their international lead is well-publicised. Operators in the country have collaboratively constructed more than 160,000 5G base stations which cover more than 50 cities and now, aim to expand standalone 5G network coverage and more importantly in recent times, capacity.

This year’s edition of GSMA’s China Mobile Economy predicts that 5G will make up for nearly half of the country’s cellular connectivity within the next 5 years. This is an adoption rate equal to Japan, South Korea and the US. Furthermore, what puts China ahead is that their forecasts for operator investments are more than $180 billion over the next five years in mobile capital expenditure – even when the current crisis is taken into consideration.  Roughly 90% of this will be spent on the development of 5G networks.