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Chinese telecom operators to develop shared 5G network to cut costs

Chinese telecom

China Telecom and China Unicorn will develop the shared network infrastructure — and China Mobile is expected to join

Chinese telecom operators China Telecom and China Unicorn have signed a tentative agreement for the development of a 5G mobile network and share network infrastructure. There are reports that China Mobile might join the cooperation agreement as well. 

The three Chinese telecoms co-own a tower company called China Tower. China Tower is the world’s largest mobile phone tower company with three business segments — the Tower, Indoor Distributed Antenna System and Trans-sector Site Application and Information.

Co-ownership of the tower company makes it simpler for these carriers to build as many base stations required for a new shared 5G network in China. So far, China Tower has received requests to install 65,000 5G base stations and is expected to surpass 100,000 by the end of the year. 

According to global market research firm Counterpoint, China Unicorn said that shared infrastructure can result in huge capex savings between $28 billion and $38 billion.

The Chinese telecoms are planning to roll out 5G in more than 50 cities this year. Their efforts stem from Countries like South Korea and the US have already started the service. 

China Telecom Chairman Ke Ruiwen said “Co-building and co-sharing would bring great savings in capital expenditure, operating expenditure, as well as improve resource utilisation.”

China is planning to build a standalone 5G network unlike the US and South Korea. Although it is expensive, a standalone network is reported to be more robust than an upgrade. 

Chinese technology giant Huawei is mired in a conflict over security concerns from various global corporations and governments. Still, it has won 50 5G contracts from around the world, according to media reports. 

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