China Mobile, the world’s largest operator in terms of subscribers, added 13.85 million 5G subscribers in July, the telco said on its website.
The operator said it ended July with a total of 84.05 million 5G subscribers, compared to 6.7 million 5G customers in January.
China Mobile’s overall mobile subscriber base was reported as 946.37 million at the end of July, up compared to 938.6 million in July 2019.
China Mobile had a total of 188,000 active 5G base stations across the country as of the end of June, the company’s Chairman Yang Jie recently said in a presentation. This network allowed the carrier to offer 5G services in over 50 cities across China, he said.
China Mobile has been accelerating the construction of its 5G SA core network with the aim of launching commercial 5G via this network architecture before the end of the year.
In April, China Mobile awarded most of a 5G contract to compatriot vendors Huawei and ZTE, according to previous press reports. Huawei won 57.3% of the value of contracts across 28 provinces, with ZTE taking 28.7%, Ericsson 11.5% and China Information Communication Technologies 2.6%.
In the new phase of its 5G program, China Mobile is looking to acquire over 232,000 5G base stations as it seeks to extend coverage to 28 regions across China.
The Chinese carrier is aiming to have a total of 300,000 5G sites across China by the end of 2020.
Meanwhile, rival operator China Telecom added 11.4 million subscribers in July to take its total 5G subscribers base to 49.3 million. China Telecom ended July with a total of 346 million subscribers, up from 326 million in July 2019.
China Unicom hasn’t revealed its 5G numbers, but its overall subscriber base fell 14.9 million year-on-year to 309.6 million at end-July.
Chinese mobile operators are expected to deploy over 600,000 5G base stations by the end of the year, covering cities above the prefecture level in the country, according to recent press reports.
China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom have already built more than 250,000 5G base stations across China, said Lu Chuncong, deputy director of the Information and Communications Administration of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).
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.
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.