Huawei Technologies expects 5G users to account for 20% of total mobile users in China and South Korea by the end of June 2021, Ryan Ding, president of Huawei’s carrier business group, said during a presentation at the company’s Global Mobile Broad Forum in Shanghai, China.
The executive said that 5G adoption was happening faster than some of the initial predictions in China, with operator China Mobile now having 130 million 5G subscribers, ahead of its target of 100 million for the year.
“5G is developing much faster than previous generations. Currently, there are more than 100 commercial 5G networks worldwide, and budget 5G mobile phones have dropped to CNY1,000 ($151). This is driving up the number of 5G users around the world, and leading carriers are already benefitting from 5G data plans. They are seeing an increase in the ARPU of 5G users through multi-metric service packages and upgraded services like 5G messaging and enriched calling,” Ding said.
During Huawei’s MBBF, Miao Shouye, director of China Unicom’s 5G Co-construction and Sharing Working Group, said that China Unicom and China Telecom now share 200MHz of 3.5GHz spectrum and recently demonstrated peak downlink rates of 3.2Gb/s.
The executive also said that the shared network can reduce capex by 30% and opex by 35%.
China Unicom and China Telecom have jointly built and currently operate over 300,000 5G base stations across China. China Unicom and China Telecom also confirmed that their 5G network has so far expanded to all prefecture-level and above cities in China.
In September 2019, China Telecom and China Unicom announced that they would jointly build a 5G network in certain parts of China and that they were working together to build 5G networks in 15 cities, including Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and Nanjing.
China had constructed over 690,000 5G base stations nationwide by the end of September, according to the latest available information from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
In June 2019, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) officially issued licenses for the launch of commercial 5G networks in the country. Those 5G permits were granted to China Mobile, China Unicom, China Telecom and state-owned broadcaster China Broadcasting Network.
Large cities including the capital, Beijing, and Shenzhen already have full 5G coverage and 5G deployments are also accelerating in Shanghai.
China Mobile, the world’s largest operator in terms of subscribers, added 44 million 5G subscribers in the third quarter of 2020. The state-run telco said it ended September with a total of 114 million 5G subscribers, compared to 70 million 5G customers at the end of June.
Meanwhile, rival operator China Telecom added 7.66 million subscribers in September to take its total 5G subscribers base to 64.8 million.
China Unicom hasn’t revealed its 5G numbers.