China Broadnet – the country’s recently licensed mobile operator – has joined its three big-name peers (China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom) in offering 5G services. The operator, which formally became the country’s fourth operator in 2020, already supplies cable services and has a 5G infrastructure sharing agreement with China Mobile.
5G is providing opportunities for new players to add value in the ecosystem. Whether or not they will be successful, this latest 5G launch shows that 5G is increasing the number of players. Indeed, as of Q1 2022 a total of 198 operators had launched 5G services (including FWA) in 77 markets, with 5G connections accounting for 8% of global mobile connections, according to GSMA Intelligence. Operators are expected to spend 85% of the $620 billion mobile capex globally between 2022 and 2025 on 5G. China is a key 5G market, accounting for the vast majority of the global 5G total connections (68% as of Q1 2022). Chinese operators are also looking to increase the number of 5G base stations to 2 million collectively by the end of 2022 to further widen their 5G network coverage, which is the main prerequisite underpinning 5G take-up.