China to be biggest 5G market by 2025: Report

BEIJING • China is set to become the world's largest 5G market by 2025, with 460 million users of the next-generation, super-fast network, a report said.

This is expected to occur as the nation plays a pioneering role in constructing the network and experimenting with cutting-edge applications.

The number of 5G users in China is forecast to be higher than Europe's 205 million and the United States' 187 million combined, said the report released on Wednesday by the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA), which represents more than 750 mobile operators worldwide.

GSMA director-general Mats Granryd said Chinese mobile operators are set to invest US$58 billion (S$78 billion) over the next two years for 5G roll-outs.

The mobile communications sector is expected to account for 6 trillion yuan (S$1.2 trillion) of China's economy in 2023, up from 5.2 trillion yuan last year, the report added.

"China's mobile industry has been a key driver of economic growth, inclusion and modernisation, creating a new generation of digital consumers and transforming industry and society," said Mr Granryd.

China's big three mobile operators - China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom - are rolling out trial operations of 5G systems in several cities, and aim to fully commercialise the technology next year.

Mr Hu Houkun, rotating chairman of telecommunications equipment maker Huawei Technologies, said 5G's capacity to connect things and its extremely fast response speed will bring "revolutionary" changes.

One of those changes might be remote-controlled surgery. On Saturday, with technological support from Huawei and China Mobile, a doctor in Hainan province implanted a deep brain stimulator into a patient with Parkinson's disease who was 2,500km away in Beijing.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 22, 2019, with the headline 'China to be biggest 5G market by 2025: Report'. Subscribe