GSMA anoints China as the global 5G leader

Ian Scales
By Ian Scales

Mar 17, 2020

via Flickr © Cory M. Grenier (CC BY-SA 2.0)

via Flickr © Cory M. Grenier (CC BY-SA 2.0)

  • GSMA says it’s partnered with the mobile industry in China to highlight 5G momentum
  • Has launched ‘GSMA China Week’ and has kicked off a year-long programme of events
  • Has also released a Mobile Economy Report on China

The GSMA, or at least its Chinese wing, headed by Sihan Bo Chen, Head of Greater China  GSMA, says that “China has cemented its position as the global 5G leader as a result of significant operator investment and growing enthusiasm amongst consumers and enterprises” for next gen services in China.

All of which is undoubtedly true. The slight surprise is that the GSMA appears to be endorsing something in a way that isn’t calculated to go down terribly well in the US. Keep in mind that the GSMA has worked hard to keep the US telco establishment on-board and has garnished its internationalist stance toward open and global 3GPP standards with talk of US leadership in mobile.  

Today’s announcement, however, might be seen as rubbing home the fact that, despite the US administration’s attempts to knock Huawei off its perch, China generally, and Huawei in particular, is killing it in 5G. And China is especially killing it where it matters, in service and applications deployment. That, after all, is the ultimate national pay-off for all this activity. 

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The GSMA is publishing a series of reports as part of what it's calling ‘GSMA China Week’, which is actually an annual programme of events focused on the development of mobile industry in China. This year, of course, it’s happening online because of the continuing virus crisis. Topics include current 5G trends and 5G’s role in recovering from the COVID-19 outbreak in China, it says. 

China’s 5G record and lead is well-known. Its operators have already built more than 160,000 5G base stations covering more than 50 cities and now aim to expand standalone 5G network coverage and capacity.

The 2020 China edition of the GSMA’s ‘Mobile Economy’ series, published today, forecasts that 5G will account for almost half of the country’s mobile connections by 2025, an adoption rate on a par with the likes of Japan, South Korea and the US. Chinese operator investment forecasts are more than $180 billion over the next five years in mobile CaPex, roughly 90 per cent of which will be on 5G networks.

The ‘Mobile Economy China 2020’ report features the latest GSMA Intelligence data on the state of mobile in China, including forecasts out to 2025, plus analysis of the industry’s social and economic impact, and the findings from GSMA Intelligence’s consumer and enterprise surveys.

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