Friday Feb 21, Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, told the Politburo, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, told the Politburo, "to prop up support for the research and development of related reagents, drugs, and vaccines, and prompt the development of biomedicine, medical equipment, 5G networks and industrial Internet." Emphasis added.
The next day, China Unicom and China Telecom committed to deploying 250,000 sites by September. To put that in perspective, the two companies, working together, will deploy about as many sites as the combined total - 4G and 5G - Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint.
China Mobile is set for another 300,000. Q4 construction will raise the total. They have already put in emergency orders to the primary suppliers. Huawei is mostly back to work. Away from Wuhan, many people will return to the job this week.
Wuhan is China’s “Optics Valley." Yangtze Optical Fibre & Cable and Fiberhome are two of the world's largest optics manufacturers. Both are based in Wuhan, the center of the epidemic. Shortages of backhaul fiber are predictable.
The money is available. China Mobile has cut capex from RMB 187 billion (USD 27 billion) to RMB 166 in 2019. Simply restoring that cut would finance > 10,000 more radios. China Unicom spent RMB 61 in 2017 but projects RMB 58 in 2019.
The equipment is or soon will be available. Huawei claims it can produce 1,500,000 radios a year. Ericsson and ZTE have spare capacity. The Chinese companies, like all tech companies, are suffering from supply chain problems already that will probably get worse.
Apple has postponed the $399 iPhone SE2 because of production problems.