Biz / Tech

China's 5G user base surpasses 1 billion

Zhu Shenshen
China Mobile had 557 million 5G users by September, followed by China Telecom of 251 million and China Unicom of 201 million, taking the total 5G user base to 1.01 billion.
Zhu Shenshen
China's 5G user base surpasses 1 billion
Ti Gong

A telecom engineer installs indoor 5G stations in Shanghai.

China's 5G user base has surpassed 1 billion for the first time, according to the latest business figures released by China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom.

By September, China Mobile had 557 million 5G users, followed by China Telecom's 251 million and China Unicom's 201 million, which took the country's total 5G user base to 1.01 billion.

By August, China's 5G user base was 977 million.

Since its launch in 2019, China has taken the lead in the 5G user base, 5G patents, and base station coverage. About 80 percent of smartphones sold in the Chinese market are 5G models.

According to researcher Counterpoint, 5G phone sales surpassed the sales of 4G models for the first time in August in the global market.

China is accelerating the construction of 5G base stations this year, supporting 5G applications in the industrial, educational, and other sectors, and launching 5G services geared toward the elderly in order to advance 5G development and the digital economy, said China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

5G is now an "artery" feeding the development of the information society and digital infrastructure construction, which is boosting telecom revenue and the digital economy.

In the first nine months, China Mobile's net profit reached 98.5 billion yuan (US$13.9 billion), up13 percent year on year. Its 5G users accounted for more than half of China's total. Meanwhile, China Telecom's net profit in the first three quarters reached 24.5 billion yuan, 5.2 percent year on year, the carriers said on Friday.

5G and related mobile services will also be adapted to make them suitable for the aged, disabled, and price-sensitive groups. These include "one-click" services like calling a taxi or reporting an emergency, which help close the digital divide.

Meanwhile, Chinese firms have been prepared for the upcoming 6G technologies. About half global 6G patent applications are coming from China, said research firm Market Research Future.

Also since September, a new and fourth mobile carrier Broadnet started its services with new 5G numbers beginning with 192. It's expected to bring more 5G users in future.

China Broadnet, mainly a cable TV and radio network operator, was also given a national 5G license. In Shanghai, the carrier will offer services by the Oriental Cable Network Co or OCN, the city's biggest cable TV service provider.

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