China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile operator in terms of subscribers, has launched a tender for the second phase of its 5G network rollout, according to a report by China Securities Journal.

According to the report, the Chinese carrier has already completed the first phase of its 5G network deployment.

In the new phase of its 5G program, China Mobile is aiming to acquire over 232,000 5G base stations as it looks to extend coverage to 28 regions across China.

Currently, China Mobile provides 5G coverage in 50 cities. The operator is aiming to have a total of 300,000 5G sites across China by the end of 2020.

However, the rollout of 5G by China Mobile could potentially face some disruptions by the spread of the COVID-19 (coronavirus). Last month, China Mobile VP Qin Jian said that while the operator was planning to push deployment of 5G infrastructure through the rest of the year, it was possible that the situation with coronavirus could affect these plans.

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.

China Mobile selected Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia and ZTE as providers of 5G network equipment. 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.

China Mobile had already deployed nearly 50,000 5G base stations across the country as of the end of last year.

The company’s  chairman Yang Jie said that China Mobile plans to leverage base station sites and transmission facilities used for 4G services to deploy its 5G network cost-effectively.

According to a report by China Daily, the carrier aims to end 2020 with a total of  70 million 5G users, with a planned investment of CNY20 billion ($2.85 billion).

The executive highlighted that the peak period for China Mobile’s investments in 5G deployment will be between 2020 and 2022.

According to the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, 5G technology is expected to create more than 8 million jobs in China by 2030.

It is forecasted that 28% of China’s mobile connections will be running on 5G networks by 2025, accounting for about one-third of all 5G connections globally, according to a previous report by the GSMA.


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