Minister Miao Wei demanded, "Accelerate" and the telcos are delivering. 198,000 cells had been upgraded at the end of March. The year-end goal, 600,000, has been reduced to 500,000. Ericsson and Huawei have confirmed the equipment is on the way and the buildout should hit the new target easily.

The 50 million "5G contracts" figure must be examined closely. Many reporters assume that means 50 million people are using 5G. I initially did. 

However, I discovered in March that the Chinese telcos were selling more 5G contracts than the phone makers seemed to ship.

Most of the phone makers hadn't provided shipping numbers, so I had to guess. But the gap was highly likely. Sina noted, "As of the end of February 2020, the total number of 5G package users of China Mobile + China Telecom has reached 26.13 million, while the cumulative domestic 5G mobile phone shipments during the same period were 21.614 million." Add China Unicom 5G and the gap is about 30%.

One possible explanation is that people with 4G phones were choosing heavily promoted "5G contracts," which were often the same price. Alternately, phones were in short supply from November to February and the consumer might be waiting for delivery. Some companies may be fudging the figures, although I've rarely seen that with the Chinese telcos, which are part publicly owned.

Phone supply is now catching up, with Oppo, Xiaomi, and Huawei aggressively selling outside of China. 

dave ask

@analysisbranch for latest updates

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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. daveb@dslprime.com

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