Chinese carriers China Unicom and China Telecom have jointly built and currently operate over 300,000 5G base stations across China, local press reported.
Wang Xiaochu, chairman of China Unicom, said the decision by the two operators to jointly deploy 5G infrastructure across the country has helped save them CNY60 billion ($8.87 billion) in capex.
Wang added that the two state-owned operators will deepen their partnership and will continue to expand their shared 5G network infrastructure.
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.
According to the report, China Unicom is independently building 5G networks in nine cities in Guangdong province, five in Zhejiang province and eight in central, eastern and northern regions including the provinces of Hebei, Henan, Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Shandong and Shanxi and the Inner Mongolia autonomous region. China Telecom, meanwhile, is currently installing 5G networks in 10 cities in Guangdong province, five cities in Zhejiang province and 17 5G networks in other regions.
The state operators had previously announced that they aim to launch 5G services via a standalone architecture by the end of September as they currently offer the technology though non-standalone 5G networks.
China Unicom and China Telecom also confirmed that their 5G network has so far expanded to all prefecture-level and above cities in China.
Wen Ku, spokesman for the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said earlier this month that China has built over 480,000 5G base stations so far, and more than 100 million devices have been connected to the 5G network.
“Chinese companies are applying 5G technologies to sectors such as manufacturing, healthcare, media and transportation, despite the fallout from COVID-19,” Wen reportedly said.
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.
Two of the main cities in China have recently announced that they have reached full 5G coverage.
At the beginning of September, the Chinese government said that capital Beijing had achieved full coverage of 5G technology. Chinese operators had installed a total of 44,000 5G base stations across Beijing as of the end of July, and the figure is expected to reach 50,000 by the end of 2020,
In August, the municipal government of Shenzhen announced that the city’s 5G deployment was fully completed. With the deployment of almost 46,500 5G base stations, Shenzhen became the first city in China to achieve full-scale 5G deployment.
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