China 5G release photo 230Until today, China's 5G was officially "non-commercial" but building rapidly. The country is set to pass the entire Western world before the previous  Oct.1 launch date.  See 90,000-150,000 Chinese 5G sites go live Octoberfor an earlier report.* Probably for political reasons, Minister Miao Wei just moved up the date.  China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom will build rapidly. They will be joined on the China Railway Towers by China's Radio and Television cable systems.

China Tower has 2.2 million sites and expects the carriers to upgrade most of them in the next few years. Towers and backhaul are in place. The upgrade will only require new radios, usually less than 15% of the cost.  

Huawei, ZTE, and now Datang are ready with as many radios as the companies want to install. My guess is that the government will make available money to speed the build. The likely limiting factor will probably be the time required to train an army of engineers.

Equipment is in plentiful supply. Huawei has shipped 100,000 base stations already and does not need U.S. parts except perhaps for the phones. ZTE is selling around the world. The U.S. dominates the production of FPGAs (Field Programmable Gate Arrays,) used to replace several chips in a design. When sales volume goes past ~10,000, FPGAs are normally replaced by custom chips; Huawei is at that level. Where that's not practical, FPGA's can be replaced by a group of chips. In routers and other network equipment, there's room for an additional circuit board. 

A revitalized Datang will be China's 3rd 5G supplier. It was a pioneer in 3G TD-SCDMA but fell behind in 4G. (The company's TDD patents are foundational for 5G.) The government in 2018 merged Datang with Fiberhome, one of the world's largest producers of fibre equipment, which is showcasing the new Datang gear around the world.



*CWW has a figure of 70,000 this year, Nomura 172,000. The 90-150,000 estimate comes from China Mobile & ZTE, via China Daily. 

dave ask


Rethinking Jan 27: Coronavirus could invalidate all projections. I reported on AIDS for 2 years. This could be worse because it spreads in air. Let us hope and pray.

Details on all 5G phones, as prices drop to $285 ** All actual 5G networks worldwide ** Facebook ordered to repost Italian fascist page. ** Apple China sales down 35%** Qorvo sees 300M 5G 2020 & 750M 2023 mmWave <10%

** Bharti demands India Gov more than double prices and enforce cartel. Sunil Mittal "Situation is dire. It is a matter of survival for everyone." ** Wi-Fi 6 meets ITU 5G criteria @stephenjcrowley ** Samsung $8B for Chinese memory plants ** Morgan paying billions for Altice fiber

Dec 10 Sprint bringing $300-500 5G phones to US 2020. Nokia, Lenovo, HMD ** H., Apple, and AMD doing 5 nm test runs on TSMC's 5 nm. Early results are 15-30% better than 7 nm ** AT&T low-band 5G built to >65% US. Speeds slower than 4G at launch. ** 

Verizon CEO Ronan Dunne: >1/2 VZ 5G "will approximate to a good 4G service" Midband in "low hundreds" Mbps ** CFO John Stephens says AT&T is going to cut capex soon. ** Huawei in 16 days sold 1,000,000 5G Mate 20s.  


Welcome  Asia is installing hundreds of thousands of 5G radios and adding 5G subs by the tens of millions. The west is far behind. 200,000,000 in 2020

The demand is there, and most of the technology works. Meanwhile, the hype is unreal. Time for reporting closer to the truth.

I'm Dave Burstein, Editor. I've been reporting telecom since 1999. I love to hear from readers and say thank you when you find an error.

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