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China Mobile sees 700 million 4G users in 2018

The world's biggest mobile carrier also expects to have the world's biggest Internet-of-Things network next year.
Zhu Shenshen / SHINE

China Mobile shows its wares in Guangzhou.

China Mobile, the worlds biggest mobile carrier, expects to have 700 million 4G users and the world's biggest Inernet-of-Things network next year, the company said on Friday.

The carrier also expects to launch its 5G network in 2020, offering its customers Internet connections 50-100 times faster than the current 4G, said company chairman Shang Bing.

“The Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, cloud computing and other technologies have brought new opportunities and a new era for telecommunications carriers,” Shang told a forum at the China Mobile Global Partners Conference 2017 in Guangzhou.

China Mobile currently has 880 million mobile users, including about 620 million on 4G.

The company also has more than 200 million IoT connections and expects that to rise to 320 million next year from 200 million now.

China Mobile will set up a special fund of 2 billion yuan (US$303 million) to support an IoT ecosystem to help its partners in the sector.

The company expects each person to have about 10 IoT connections for various smart devices by 2020, creating a market of about 10 billion 5G IoT connections.

The carrier also announced a strategic cooperation deal with the China Huadian Group on energy management and data center services and the GAC Group on connected cars, using China Mobile's 4G and 5G networks.


Zhu Shenshen / SHINE

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Partners including Baidu, Ericsson, Qualcomm and Oppo also displayed their latest technologies and products at the Guangzhou conference.

Ericsson showed of IoT applications including super high-definition virtual reality applications and disaster monitoring and warning systems, using 5G and NB-IoT (narrow-band IoT) technologies.

Qualcomm, ZTE and China Mobile showcases a trial device offering Internet connections up to 1.4 gigabytes per second initially. The speed on offer is expected to hit at least 4 Gbps in 2020 — 100 times faster than a 4G connection.

The introduction of 5G is a little later than industry expectations, but the IoT and the 4G upgrade will help carriers boost revenue to fund 5G, analysts say.


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