China set to build 700,000 5G base stations by end of 2020
China has smashed its own goal to build half a million 5G base stations by 2021 after exceeding its original target by almost half a million. Tallies also suggest the number will hit 750,000 by the first quarter of 2021.
The figures, which were released by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), also reveal the country had more than 180 million devices connected to the 5G network.
The world-wide 5G network infrastructure is set to double in size by 2021, according to a recent by Gartner, and China has been active in its efforts to lead the world with its next-generation, ultra-fast wireless technology.
A massive undertaking
Experts have called the 5G base station roll-out “impressive”, though point out it is still only a fraction compared with China's huge base of 1.2bn 4G users. This, they say, creates a situation where consumers have held off signing up with expensive 5G plans because the service, though fast, lacks enough attractive apps and services.
However, the Chinese media outlet Sina News reported MIIT’s vice-minister, Lui Lieong, as saying; "The good infrastructure has spurred a range of new 5G-based applications. For instance, the smart education sector has witnessed the emergence of new education models such as ultra-high-resolution, remote interactive teaching powered by 5G, immersive teaching with augmented and virtual reality technology and hologram classrooms during the Covid-19 pandemic.”
To put the 700,000 base stations figure into perspective, complete coverage across China will require 10mn 5G base stations. According to , CPPCC member and president of the China Unicom Research Institute, the cost of the venture is predicted to top $280bn.
In an official statement issued by China Unicom, the telecom said; “While endorsing 5G network construction, we also put an increased focus on accelerating the promotion of 5G applications. In order to meet the needs of the mass market, we launched feature services such as ultra-high definition live broadcasts, cloud-based games and cloud VR solutions which are intended to be exciting and engaging, as well as providing the highest quality information and telecommunications services for our customers.”
The 5G announcement comes on the heels of international strife with the United States, as President Donald Trump led the worldwide charge against the use of Huawei’s 5G equipment and software in international rollouts of the tech. Many countries globally have cancelled their contracts with the Chinese technology and communications giant and are replacing network hardware with Nokia and Ericsson components, while Google is prohibited from working with Huawei, costing the multinational an estimated $12bn in lost revenue.
But according to reports, Chinese President Xi Jinping views 5G networks and data centres as critical in the building of China’s new, digital infrastructure. The country’s telecommunications system is considered an essential part of China's drive towards better connectivity for consumers and businesses.
Verizon’s 5G adoption rises as Q2 success hits record high
Verizon has reported record success in the second quarter of 2021 caused by an increase in the adoption of its 5G phone service, customer and sequential wireless service revenue growth, and network reliability. The company revised its revenue and adjusted EPS guidance upward for the full year as a result.
Hans Vestberg, Chairman and CEO of Verizon, said: “We are executing on our multipurpose network strategy and producing positive results in each of our five growth vectors, recording strong second-quarter results. With more connections on our network than anyone else, our already excellent network performance improved in the quarter and was recognized by RootMetrics as the best overall network performance for the 16th time in a row. We are also expanding our 5G Ultra-Wideband and 5G Home markets”.
He added that that the company “is excited about its momentum leading into the second half of the year”, and that it is “on track” to close the Tracfone and Verizon Media transactions.
Verizon’s Q2 2021 highlights
- US$1.40 in earnings per share (EPS); adjusted EPS*, excluding special items, of US$1.37.
- Operating revenue of US$33.8bn, a result of strong sequential wireless revenue growth.
- Net income of US$5.9bn and adjusted EBITDA* of US$12.2bn.
- Total wireless service revenue of US$16.9bn, a 5.9% increase year over year, and a 4.0 percent increase from second-quarter 2019.
- Total retail postpaid churn of 0.94 percent, and retail postpaid phone churn of 0.72 percent.
- 528,000 retail postpaid net additions, including 275,000 phone net additions, resulting in 121.3mn total retail connections.
- Total revenue of US$23.5 bn, an increase of 11.2% year over year, and an increase of 6.7% from second-quarter 2019.
- Total retail postpaid churn of 0.83%, and retail postpaid phone churn of 0.65 percent, a record-low retail postpaid phone churn outside of second-quarter 2020 and third-quarter 2020, which were heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- 350,000 retail postpaid net additions, including 197,000 phone net additions, driving 5G-phone adoption to approximately 20% of Consumer wireless phone customers and step-ups to premium unlimited plans.
- 92,000 Consumer Fios Internet net additions. The company's trailing 12-month total Fios Internet net addition performance is the highest since 2015.
- Total revenue of US$7.8bn, an increase of 3.7% year over year, and relatively flat from second-quarter 2019.
- Total retail postpaid churn of 1.30%, and retail postpaid phone churn of 1.07%.
- 178,000 retail postpaid net additions, including 78,000 phone net additions.
“Second quarter results were exceptional, both financially and operationally,” said Verizon Chief Financial Officer Matt Ellis. “Our strong first-half performance and the momentum in our business gives us the confidence to raise our total wireless service revenue growth guidance to between 3.5% and 4%, an update from prior guidance for 2021 total wireless service revenue growth of at least 3%. We are also raising our adjusted EPS guidance* to the range of US$5.25 to US$5.35, an update from prior guidance for 2021 adjusted EPS* of US$5.00 to US$5.15”.
Also in Q2, Verizon came to an agreement with Apollo funds to sell Verizon Media, the expected close date being in the second half of 2021. Following this, the Verizon Media business classified certain assets as “Held for Sale”, which the company no longer depreciated or paid off. According to Verizon, this led to a partial quarter benefit of three cents per share in Q2, which will continue as a benefit until the deal is closed.