China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile services provider, plans to leverage base station sites and transmission facilities used for 4G services to deploy its 5G network cost-effectively, Chinese press reported the company’s Chairman Yang Jie as saying.
During a press conference on the company’s quarterly results, he also reiterated China Mobile’s plan to deploy over 50,000 5G base stations in China and launch 5G commercial services in more than 50 cities this year.
The company, which spent around CNY 85 billion ($12.1 billion) on capital expenditure in the first half of 2019, is aiming to keep full year capex below CNY 166 billion. Of that figure, about CNY 24 billion has been budgeted for 5G infrastructure and base stations.
The executive highlighted that the peak period for China Mobile’s investments in 5G deployment will be between 2020 and 2022. He also said that the carrier is exploring the possibility of a partnership for 5G services with state broadcaster China Broadcasting Network, one of the four companies which secured 5G licenses in June. China Broadcasting was formed in 2014 by combining many of the country’s regional cable TV operators. It was originally created to operate in the cable TV segment but was granted a license to operate internet and telecom services in 2016.
The 5G permits were also granted to China Unicom and China Telecom.
China Mobile is working with Huawei, Nokia, Ericsson and ZTE in the deployment of its 5G network. According to a previous report published by the South China Morning Post, China Mobile has awarded half of its 5G network equipment contracts to Huawei Technologies.
Huawei will provide 49% of the MME/SGSN equipment and 54% of the SAE-GW/GGSN equipment to China Mobile, according to the results of a tender posted on the carrier’s website.
Ericsson and Nokia secured 34% and 12% of the MME/SGSN equipment orders, as well as 34% and 9% of the SAE-GW/GGSN orders respectively. ZTE was awarded 5% of the MME and 3% of the SAE 5G equipment orders.
China Mobile said it would continue to work with both domestic and international vendors.
The operator previously said that it aims to expand the 5G commercial services to all Chinese cities above the prefecture level by 2020.
China Mobile said it is working to integrate 5G technologies with other new technologies, including artificial intelligence and the internet of things, with the aim of offering specific 5G-based solutions across different sectors in China.
The carrier also said it expects to invest CNY 3 billion for the development of 5G content, including high-definition videos and games.
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