Chinese Telecoms Plan for Another 600,000 Sites by Year’s End

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Despite an unenthusiastic response from Chinese consumers, Chinese telecoms are amping up construction of 5G base stations, reports South China Morning Post. Xiao Yaqing, head of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) made the announcement that China plans to build 600,000 additional base stations by the end of 2021. 

However, complaints from Chinese consumers about unreliable coverage and aggressive marketing tactics reflect the public’s dissatisfaction with their cell phone service. For example, subscriber Kelvin Yi, who has a 5G plan based in Beijing, told the source, “I heard from my carrier that 5G would provide reliable and fast data speeds, and that is important to me. I upgraded my data plan early this year. But so far I do not feel any improvement on data service.”  

A recent survey of Chinese consumers conducted by iiMedia Research in Guangzhou discovered that 75 percent of the respondents felt no urge to upgrade to a 5G phone. However, some vendors have forced their 4G subscribers into adopting 5G plans in a move the Chinese blog, Weibo, refers to as “Getting 5G’d.” 

China Mobile and China Telecom, the country’s largest providers, have reported a combined 179 million 5G subscribers, according to the South China Morning Post. However the number of 5G units in service compared to the number of 5G subscribers does not match up, leading some in the industry to speculate that many 5G subscribers are continuing to connect with the 4G smartphones.

Seeking to position China as the world’s leader in 5G, Xiao said that China plans to promote and build more 5G networks in 2021. Xiao also intends to increase 5G coverage and participation in major cities. Plans also include setting up more data centers and computing facilities, and finding ways to improve 5G applications for the Internet of Things and other expanded uses.  

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