Much has been made of 5G in 2020, with the technology billed as an enabler or IoT, as well as incorrectly being cited for the spread of COVID-19. The broadband standard is also still in its infancy, with some markets more mature than others.
That said, China seems to be leading the way in terms of growth, with a new report from the China Academy for Information and Communications Technology (CAICT) noting that more than 110 million users have signed up for a 5G plan in the country.
It should also be noted that the CAICT falls under the purview of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, so the figures do require a bit more scrutiny. That said, it does prove interesting to see how the country has been able to get such a rapid adoption, given the expenses surrounding the technology.
In South Africa for example, 5G-supporting smartphones in general carry a premium price tag over 4G/LTE ones.
We’ve also seen a limited rollout and availability of 5G in the country too, with Rain, Vodacom and MTN launching 5G in some smaller capacities in recent months. This while we still await the necessary spectrum to be allocated for a fully fledged commercial 5G network to be available to all in the country.
Shifting back to China, the report notes that the success of its adoption is down to a multi-pronged approach from government, network carriers, telecoms equipment makers, device makers and software developers.
This resulted in as many as 15 000 new 5G base stations being erected in July, with plans eyeing to increase that number to 600 000 by the year’s end.
Consequently, now China is leading the world as far as 5G adoption goes, for better or worse.
Once the sizeable infrastructure required to rollout 5G across China is completed, it will prove interesting to see how the technology is used to empower new age solutions.
The aforementioned use in IoT and smart cities in particular has been eulogised for some time, but it looks China will be the first nation to bring this to fruition given its recent ramping up of 5G adoption.