China’s 5G Investments To Exceed U.S. And Canada Combined

China 5G Rollout
An employee displays a Huawei 5G Smartphone Mate 20X smartphone at a Sunrise telecommunications shop in Opfikon (Photo: Reuters / Arnd Wiegmann)

China's investments in 5G mobile technology will exceed that of the United States and Canada combined by 2025, positioning China as the world leader in this key future technology.

The China Internet Report (CIR) estimates China will spend more than $218 billion on 5G between 2020 and 2025. This massive investment will give China 460 million 5G connections by the end of 2025.

This total will comprise 28 percent of total mobile connections in the country, said CIR, with the balance going to legacy 4G networks.

China's total spending on 5G will be double that of U.S investments during the same period.

Total 5G capital expenditure in China is expected to range from $130.8 billion to U$218 billion from 2020 to 2025, according to a study by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, a research institute under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

China today, however, is playing catch-up to South Korea, which rolled out the world's first 5G nationwide network last April. The U.S., Australia, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Spain have also had their initial roll-outs of the technology and will soon go national.

Analysts said the massive size of China's 5G market will dwarf the combined size of these countries, negating their first-mover edge.

Leading China's advance into 5G will be the country's three network operators: China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom. A commercial 5G license was also granted to China Broadcasting Network by the government.

China's higher 5G investments reflect its ambition to lead the global race to deploy ultra-fast, 5G telecoms networks that power industrial internet, smart cities and autonomous driving, said a Dell'Oro Group report.

This company is an independent market analysis and research firm for the telecommunications, enterprise networks, and cloud data center infrastructure industries.

"With global data traffic projected to grow 3 to 4 times over the forecast period, no one is asking anymore whether there is a business case for using more spectrum and utilizing it more efficiently," said Stefan Pongratz, senior director at Dell'Oro.

Dell' Oro estimated China's combined 4G and 5G spending in the vicinity of $40 billion between 2019 and 2023.

Despite its huge 5G network push, China seriously lags behind in the development of 5G mobile phones. China won't have sufficient 5G handsets until the fourth quarter of 2020. China's demand for 5G smartphones will increase to more than 1 billion by 2024, according to a report by CCID Consulting.

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