China will deploy more 5G radios in 2019 than the entire Western world. A low estimate is 100,000. 200,000 is quite possible. I'm closely watching as the information trickles out to understand the market dynamics. Shanghai is just getting going, with 2,000 radios in place. Beijing already has 5,500. Each of the three telcos is also actively growing 5G in a dozen or more other cities. 

2020 will see 600,000 to 800,000 base stations according to Wei Liping of MIIT.  As 5G phone prices go down towards US$300, many of the 300,000,000+ bought each year in China will be 5G.

The U.S. war on Huawei is unlikely to hold the country back on base stations. FPGAs are the only important base station part that may be dependent on U.S. suppliers. FPGAs efficiently replace a small circuit board of chips. Huawei already has a dedicated chip for base stations. At worst, FPGAs can be replaced by a small circuit board.  DigiTimes reports Huawei is actively redesigning many boards to replace U.S. parts and meanwhile is slowing orders.

(Huawei will have a harder time replacing U.S. sourced radio frequency components for phones.

Qorvo, Skyworks, and AVAGO have done a remarkable job of miniaturizing RF components. Huawei phones might become slightly larger if the U.S. parts can't be sourced, perhaps 1/4 of an inch. The absence of Google apps will hurt phone sales in Europe. Huawei is currently cut off from Google applications, although its Android replacement, Ark, is all that's needed for China.)  

China Tower's 2.2 million cells will be upgraded very quickly.

dave ask


Samsung has delivered 5G chip samples to BBK's Oppo and Vivo, the #2 or #3 phones manufacturer. Samsung is facing off against Qualcomm in the 5G market. Qualcomm is unfazed and reportedly moving the production of their next chip from TSMC to Samsung. 

Sprint's 2.5 GHz 5G is delivering 100-500 megabit downloads consistently. That bodes well for China Mobile, using the same frequencies.

Vodafone, BT, and soon 3UK are delivering modestly sized 5G mid-band networks. Vodafone is also live in Spain and Italy. 

Sunrise in Switzerland is using 5G mid-band for fixed wireless in rural areas.  

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Welcome  1,000,000 Koreans bought 5G in the first ten weeks. The demand is there, and most of the technology works. 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.