China Mobile reports 31 million 5G "contracts" at the end of March. That's an increase of 16 million in one month. If that pace continues, by the end of 2020, over 170 million of China Mobile's 946 million wireless customers will have 5G contracts. It will reach 350 million in 2021.

China Telecom reports 17 million. China Unicom didn't offer a figure, but typically is about half the China Telecom figure. The total is over 50 million.

But probably only half are actually connected to 5G. A second source reports only 6 million 5G mobile phones were sold in China in March. Even adding some routers for fixed wireless, many of the 5G contract holders were still using 4G phones.  One estimate is that only 20 million are actually connected.

The gap will probably narrow. Phones are just becoming widely available at prices between US$285 & $450.

150 million actual connections by the end of 2020 are likely.

dave ask

@analysisbranch for latest updates


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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