China’s state-owned mobile carriers are embracing a plan to share resources in the construction of a 5G network in response to the government’s calls for industrywide collaboration in building, operating and maintaining the fifth-generation wireless networks to reduce costs.
China Unicom and China Telecom, two of China’s three major state-owned telecoms operators, have joined hands to install more than 300,000 5G base stations across the country in a way that has helped them “save over 60 billion yuan ($9 billion) in investment,”Wang Xiaochu, chairman of China Unicom, said Thursday at the 2020 World 5G Convention in the southern city of Guangzhou.
Wang was echoed by Ke Ruiwen, chairman of China Telecom, who said at the event that the partnership also helped accelerate construction speed, which could be duplicated in 5G base station projects in rural areas and along railway lines.
The number of 5G base stations jointly installed by China Unicom and China Telecom is basically equal to that of China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile carrier based on number of subscribers, which has so far set up some 385,000 base stations across the country, according to China Mobile’s president Dong Xin.
Dong added that more than 90 million devices have been connected to its 5G network.
In August, China Mobile announced plans to build a 5G wireless system in partnership with China Broadcasting Network next year, but stressed that the two companies had no plan to establish a joint venture.
In June last year, state-owned China Broadcasting Network joined China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom to obtain a commercial 5G license from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).
To date, China has installed more than 700,000 5G base stations, about 97% of which were built on existing sites, according to Liu Liehong, vice minister of the MIIT.
Contact reporter Ding Yi (firstname.lastname@example.org)