Until the companies or MIIT reveal definite plans, it's impossible to give a firm estimate of China's 2019 build. China just moved up the date of officially going commercial, and Minister Miao ordered the telcos to accelerate 5G. Training the tens of thousand installers needed could hold things back. My guess is the higher estimates are more likely, especially after Minister Miao Wei ordered the telcos to "accelerate."

Analyst Joe Madden last summer predicted a "tidal wave" of China 5G. Early this year, Bing Dong of Nomura estimated 172,000 5G cells in 2019.  Few in the West accepted those figures. After all, the combined networks of AT&T and Verizon are below 172,000 bases.

In February, the three Chinese carriers released capital spending plans for 2019. They weren't explicit about how many base stations they would cover, but my inference from their numbers was the 2019 total would be about 70,000.  Several Chinese news sources continue to use similar numbers.

Late May, China Daily reported that the three giants would each have 30,000 to 50,000 5G bases in October, referencing ZTE and China Mobile. This week, Sina.com.cn reported an analyst estimate over 200,000. 

The companies may be waiting for a few months results before making a plan. 

dave ask

Newsfeed

CFO John Stephens says AT&T is going to cut capex soon.

Bharti in India has lost 45M customers who did not want to pay the minimum US#2/month. It's shutting down 3G to free some spectrum for 4G. It is cutting capex, dangerous when the 12 gigabytes/month of use continues to rise.

Huawei in 6 days sold 300,000 5G Mate 20s. Delivery begins on 8/16. 

China has over 50,000 upgraded base stations and may have more than 200,000 by yearend 2019. The growth is astonishing and about to accelerate. China will have more 5G than North America and Europe combined for several years.

5G phone prices are down to $580 in China from Oppo. Headed under $300 in 2020 and driving demand.

No one believed me when I wrote in May, 90% of Huawei U.S. purchases can be rapidly replaced and that Huawei would survive and thrive. Financial results are in, with 23% growth and increased phone sales. It is spending $17B on research in 2019, up > 10%. 

5G phones spotted from Sharp and Sony

NTT DOCOMO will begin "pre-commercial service Sept 20 with over 100 live bases. Officially, the commercial start is 2020.

 More newsfeed

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Welcome  1,800,000 Koreans bought 5G in the first four months. 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.