China’s big moves in the 5G landscape
Chinese authorities are aiming to accelerate the deployment of 5G networks in 2022, according to China Daily. More than 20 provincial and municipal governments in the Middle Kingdom have prioritized ramping up “new infrastructure,” such as data centers and 5G networks, in their plans for 2022. China ended the previous year with a massive 1.43 million 5G base stations.
This year, Shanghai alone plans to build more than 25,000 5G base stations to expand its network coverage. The city also has ambitions to build superpower computing platforms to meet the growing demand for such solutions. The growth of 5G is no less different in the capital, Beijing.
Zhao Zhiguo, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, earlier said that 2022 is a critical year for the large-scale rollout of 5G networks in the country. According to the official, one of the authorities’ priorities is the expansion of 5G coverage in rural areas.
Ten ministries, including China’s Cyberspace Administration, recently released a rural digital development plan for the period from 2022 to 2025, calling for increased efforts to upgrade digital infrastructure.
China Mobile, China’s largest cellular operator, has stated that it intends to provide 5G coverage to rural areas across China by the end of this year. According to the Ministry of Information Technology of China, 5G coverage is already available in all major cities, more than 98% of cities of county significance and 80% of rural areas.
A different picture in the United States
The situation is quite different in the United States. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has found a significant lack of funding to implement a plan to replace Chinese telecommunications equipment in the country’s networks. According to experts, this has the potential to create problems with access to 5G networks for residents of remote areas of the United States.
The FCC reports that requests from telecom operators to finance replacement of network equipment made by Chinese Huawei and ZTE have reached $5.6 billion, which is almost three times more than the $1.9 billion allocated for it. These figures have alarmed U.S. officials.
Recall that U.S. cellular operators serving less than 10 million subscribers who used government subsidies to buy Huawei and ZTE equipment had until June 30, 2020 to apply for funding to cover the cost of replacing Chinese base stations.
A total of 181 companies applied. Furthermore, operators are obliged to get rid of Huawei and ZTE equipment, as the U.S. authorities recognize it as a threat to its national security.
Experts report that Huawei and ZTE products are currently used by U.S. operators to provide communications services in some remote regions of the United States. It is unclear whether these operators are currently facing penalties.