As China is currently testing Fifth Generation (5G) in major cities after the government’s approval of its commercial services last month, the country is expected to spend at least $150 billion on 5G technology in the next five years, said a report from state-run Xinhua news agency.

The amount, according to Wall Street expert Allen Chang, will be $100 billion more than what China spent on 4G technology in the last five years. Such an increase is expected due to equipment’s cost and a high number of 5G stations to be built across the country.

Strong demands

Chang, a Goldman Sachs researcher, said strong demands for high internet speed would enable China to have 4.9 million 5G base stations by 2030. Next year, the country is expected to begin large-scale commercial use of 5G technology.

With full commercialization of 5G technology underway, Techinasia reported that research agency Counterpoint sees China owning a large share of the global 5G smartphone market. The agency said the country’s share of 5G shipments will be more than 30% next year from an estimated 25 percent this year. China is already the world’s biggest smartphone market.

Mobile carriers granted 5G licenses

Early last month, the Chinese government’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology granted China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile 5G licenses, kicking off the next-generation network’s commercialization in the world’s most populous nation.

The same license was granted to cable network operator China Broadcasting Network.

This year, at least 50 cities across the country will have 5G service to be provided by the world’s largest telecom operator, China Mobile. This is a step closer to China’s goal of catching up with other countries in the global 5G race. The United States and South Korea are already way ahead in commercial deployment.

Leading Chinese brand Huawei has been granted the first license by the industry and information technology ministry to use the next-generation technology in the country through its Mate20 X series phones.

A global leader in next-generation technology

Chinese financial and business news Caixin reported that research firm Canalys estimated that China will have up to 90,000 5G base stations this year with next-generation investments by Chinese operators reaching $5 billion.

Canalys, according to Caixin, predicted that in 2023, 62.7 percent of smartphones in China will be 5G-capable from only 17.5 percent in 2020 due to strong government support and robust deployment by wireless carriers.

Nicole Peng, Canalys vice president of mobility, stated that strong government thrust and financial capabilities of mobile carriers are pushing China to be a global leader in next-generation wireless technology deployment.

In 2023, the research agency predicted that the mainland, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan – which compose the Greater China — will have at least 34 percent of worldwide shipments of 5G smartphones. North America will account for 18.8 percent.