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The Number of 5G Base Stations Surpassed 3 Million in China

Published: 8.30.2023

According to the Operation Monitoring and Coordination Bureau of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), the total number of 5G base stations in China reached 3.055 million at the end of July, accounting for 26.9% of the total number of mobile base stations.

The proportion of 5G mobile phone users exceeded 40% and the total number of mobile phone users of the top three carriers reached 1.711 billion, a net increase of 27.82 million compared to the end of the previous year. Among them, the number of 5G mobile phone users reached 695 million, a net increase of 134 million compared to the end of the previous year, accounting for 40.6% of mobile phone users and an increase of 7.3 percentage points compared to the end of the previous year.


An independent source sponsored by the European Commission- the 5G Observatory Biannual Report (April 2023) – reported that China had more than 3 times the number of 5G base stations in all of South. Korea, Japan, USA, and EU combined. In addition, according to TechInsights Worldwide Cellular User Forecast 2022-2027 as of 2022 China had approximately 50% of the world’s 5G subscribers.


After years of research and development and multiple small deployments, Nokia and Ericsson are poised to capture a significantly greater share of China Mobile’s (CMCC’s) base stations. This is the result of years of commitment to 5G technology development to meet the requirements of the vast Chinese market. Both Ericsson and Nokia have invested to optimize their 5G technology for Chinese operators, and Ericsson has invested in Research and Development in China for many years. 


Recently Ericsson deployed power-saving baseband processing units (BBUs) at more than 1,600 sites on China Mobile’s network in Jiangxi province to demonstrate over 30% energy savings from Ericsson’s earlier version. Earlier in 2022 Nokia showed that on CMCC’s network its AirScale 5G baseband platform could leverage carrier aggregation to combine 30 MHz in the 700MHz band with 160MHz in the 2.6GHz band for a total of 190MHz that could deliver a peak downlink speed rate of nearly 3Gbps – that is now an industry standard.


Now both players are being rewarded with significant base station orders from China Mobile for 2023 and 2024 as CMCC seeks to get highly competitive bids from diverse Chinese and non-Chinese suppliers. In its latest round of tenders for 5G base station equipment in the 2.6 GHz frequency range, China Mobile decided to award 16.33% of the order volume to Ericsson and 10.28% to Nokia.

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