(Yicai Global) March 14 -- State-owned carrier China Mobile Communications Corp. has received the go-ahead from authorities to build 100 5G base stations in Suzhou, one of five designated pilot cities for the development of the country's next-generation telecoms network.
The industry ministry has approved Beijing-based China Mobile's plans to conduct offline 5G testing using the stations in preparation for a preliminary commercial roll-out next year, local newspaper Suzhou Daily reported today.
China is currently leading the global development of 5G networks, which are expected to be at least ten times faster than 4G, and aims to roll out commercial services as early as next year. The number of 5G users worldwide will reach 1 billion by 2023, said telecoms giant Ericsson Ltd. in a report last December. China is expected to make up more than half of users by 2022, says research firm CCS Insight Ltd.
China Mobile began pilot work at an industrial park in Suzhou, in the country's eastern Jiangsu province, in June last year with the construction of 10 experimental base stations and will expand the project's scope this year to verify network performance on a larger scale. The company also aims to set up 100 base stations in each of its other pilot cities, Shanghai, Wuhan, Guangzhou, and Hangzhou.
The company has done a lot of preparatory work in consideration of Suzhou's local economic development and has divided local partners into three categories, namely, smart manufacturing units, product application units, and scientific research institutions, said Zhou Jiancheng, general manager at China Mobile's Suzhou office.
China Mobile along with the country's two other major telecoms firms, China United Network Communications Group Co. and China Telecommunications Corp. and China Telecom aim to officially roll out respective commercial 5G networks by 2020.