China to speed up 5G roll out

@ 2020/03/25
Best way to limit coronavirus impact

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has called on localities to accelerate 5G network buildouts and applications to minimise the impact of the coronavirus.

The directive comes as China continues its aggressive 5G network expansion, which was disrupted when the coronavirus outbreak halted construction of base stations in February and fibreoptic factories ceased production.

In one part of the 18-point directive, the agency urged local authorities to construct 5G smart medical systems and “optimise and promote the application of 5G in the fight against the new coronavirus epidemic”. The directive requested authorities to develop 5G applications in virtual reality for the industrial and related car sectors. MIIT said the country has installed 130,000 base stations in 2019.

Analysts expect that figure will increase to more than 600,000 this year as investment continues despite the coronavirus disruption.

China Mobile chairman Yang Jie said his outfit would build 250,000 base stations this year and dedicate $14.13 billion to 5G investment. In March alone, the provincial governments of Guangdong, Guizhou, Yunnan, Hebei and Fujian all set targets to build tens of thousands of 5G base stations by the end of the year.

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