Sometime between October 2019 and October 2020, China will have the largest 5G network in the world. The three giants - Mobile, Telecom, & Unicom - will rapidly deploy 1,000,000 base stations each, probably by 2021 or 2022. They will keep going, possibly past 2,000,000. Consumer speeds will mostly be 100-700 meg down. That's already decided and carriers are publicly committed. The three companies are negotiating sharing towers, radios, and even backhaul/transit. 

Minister Miao Wei in 2016 set the goal of 25 ms latency to 90% of the country in 2025. At the time, his plan seemed ambitious and far ahead of anyone I Europe or the U.S. To everyone's amazement, the technology has advanced so fast that will likely be achieved by 2023.  The question now is whether China will reduce that to 15-20 ms. With URLLC, that can be reduced to less than 10 ms soon after.

China is planning a major push in automotive, which may support a low latency build. Latency is important for AR & VR; the Minister's 25 ms may not be adequate. AR & VR are so important to the Chinese, the Chairman has spoken up. See Chairman Xi Jinping on VR: Go Gamers!

5G air latency today is ~10 ms. No one outside of China is thinking of putting servers at every tower.

Instead, the closest are 1-3 hops back, resulting in 15-20 ms. Deutsche Telekom is putting servers even further back in the network, looking for 20-25 ms. Verizon's new system is 30 ms; they are talking about putting in Edge Servers later this year and reducing that.

Logically, the Ministry would want to go to every tower for the best possible performance. China, including Xi Jinping, believes a better, faster Internet helps the economy. China, up to the Central Planning Council, is emphasizing the importance of 5G for improving the economy. (The data on high-speed Internet and the economy are very weak and the impact exaggerated around the world.) 

2019 is a go-slow year for decisions. Nomura estimates 172,000 bases in 2019, but the capex projections I've seen suggest that figure won't be reached. 2H 2019 or 1H 2020 should see a massive acceleration/

They are using 2.5-4.9 GHz and typical user speed should be 100-700 megabits. Verizon's millimetre wave will deliver a gigabit to some and could be faster. 

dave ask


The 3.3-4.2 spectrum should be shared, not exclusively used by one company, concludes an important U.S. Defense Innovation Board report. If more wireless broadband is important, sharing is of course right because shared networks can yield far more

It does work! Verizon's mmWave tests over a gigabit in the real world. 
The $669 OnePlus 7 Pro outclasses the best Apples and probably the new Galaxy 10 or Huawei P30 Pro. Optical zoom, three cameras, liquid cooling, Qualcomm 855 and more.
Korea at 400,000 5G May 15. Chinese "pre-commercial" signing customers, 60,000-120,000 base stations in 2019, million+ remarkable soon. 
5G phones Huawei Mate 20, Samsung Galaxy 10, ZTE Nubia, LG V50, and OPPO are all on sale at China Unicom. All cost US$1,000 to 1,500 before subsidy. Xiaomi promises US$600.
Natural monopoly? Vodafone & Telecom Italia to share 5G, invite all other companies to join.
Huawei predicts 5G phones for US$200 in 2021, $300 even earlier
NY Times says "5G is dangerous" is a Russian plot. Really.
Althiostar raised US$114 million for a virtual RAN system in the cloud. Rakuten, Japan's new #4, is using it and invested.
Ireland is proposing a US$3 billion subsidy for rural fibre that will be much too expensive. Politics.
Telefonica Brazil has 9M FTTH homes passed and will add 6M more within two years. Adjusted for population, that's more than the U.S. The CEO publicly urged other carriers to raise prices together.
CableLabs and Cisco have developed Low Latency XHaul (LLX) with 5-15 ms latency for 5G backhaul,  U.S. cable is soon to come in very strong in wireless. Details 
Korea Telecom won 100,000 5G customers in the first month. SK & LG added 150,000 more. KT has 37,500 cells. planning 90% of the country by yearend. 
The Chinese giants expect 60,000 to 90,000 5G cells by the end of 2019.
China Telecom's Yang Xin warns, "Real large-scale deployment of operators' edge computing may be after 2021." Customers are hard to find.
Reliance Jio registered 97.5% 4G availability across India in Open Signal testing. Best in world.

More newsfeed


Welcome On Oct 1, 2019 Verizon turned on the first $20B 5G mmWave network with extraordinary hopes. The actual early results have been dismal. Good engineers tell me that will change. Meanwhile, the hype is unreal. Time for reporting closer to the truth.

The estimates you hear about 5G costs are wildly exaggerated. Verizon is building the most advanced wireless network while reducing capex. Deutsche Telekom and Orange/France Telecom also confirm they won't raise capex.

Massive MIMO in either 4G or "5G" can increase capacity 3X to 7X, including putting 2.3 GHz to 4.2 GHz to use. Carrier Aggregation, 256 QAM, and other tools double and triple that. Verizon sees cost/bit dropping 40% per year.

Cisco & others see traffic growth slowing to 30%/year or less.  I infer overcapacity almost everywhere.  

Believe it or not, 80% of 5G (mid-band) for several years will be slower than good 4G, which is more developed.