Chinese operators shift capex focus to enterprise

China tipped to top 1B 5G connections in 2025

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The GSMA forecast 5G to overtake LTE as the dominant mobile technology in China in 2024, with the country expected to be the first to reach 1 billion next-generation connections, hitting the milestone in 2025.

In its annual Mobile Economy China report, released at an event in Beijing yesterday (26 March), the GSMA predicted 5G connections will reach 1.6 billion in 2030, when adoption will reach 88 per cent.

Mainland China accounted for more than 60 per cent of global 5G connections at end-2022, with the number of compatible base stations growing by nearly 900,000 to more than 2.3 million.

LTE adoption is expected to drop from 64 per cent at end-2022 to less than 50 per cent this year.

In a keynote at a post-MWC sharing event, GSMA director general Mats Granryd called on the industry “to work together as we enter a new era of exploration where networks meet cloud, digitalisation transforms industries and the metaverse creates new possibilities”.

“With our collective vision, wisdom and action, we can overcome challenges and shape the future of mobile.”

Looking at the wider impact of 5G, the GSMA estimated the technology will add $290 billion to the Chinese economy in 2030, with benefits spread across various industries.

Licensed cellular IoT connections are forecast to grow from 1.8 billion in 2022 to 3.6 billion in 2030.

The country’s major mobile operators are expected to allocate a staggering $291 billion in capex between 2023 and 2030, with the vast majority earmarked for 5G projects.



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