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5G Base stations $13,000 in China

China 5G bidMost carriers don't order 200,000 5G base stations so will pay more, but that's the actual price for the joint procurement of China Telecom and China Unicom. The 200,000-300,000 cells the two jointly are upgrading are probably more than the entire rest of the world will add. The second Chinese network, jointly built by China Mobile and China Broadcast, is growing even faster. 

Huawei and ZTE will probably split 90% of the order, with Ericsson, Nokia, and perhaps CICT/Datang getting the rest. Ericsson was so worried they'd lose their share - traditionally 10% - that CEO Börje Ekholm actually threatened to move out of Sweden is the country blocked Huawei. (He didn't.)

The price of state-of-the-art commercial base stations is now so low the new Open RAN companies will find it hard to survive. Altiostar (owned by the Japanese) and Mavenir (de facto controlled by Koch) are charging much more because they don't have the volume. Some fantasists in DC think O-RAN will result in US lead in 5G. But Indian giants (Jio-Radisys & Bharti-Tata) will soon be much larger. Ericsson, Samsung, and especially Nokia are opening up.

Since the first 5G equipment hit the market in 2019, it's been clear to the industry that 5G would be similar in cost to 4G. Except for the US midband, 5G networks are being built without a rise in capex. (The analysts and reporters still saying otherwise should find another line of work.)  

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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