Shenzhen Announces to Achieve Citywide 5G Coverage

Shenzhen has achieved full coverage of 5G independent networking, the city official said on Monday.

The city has attained comprehensive and stand-alone 5G coverage and leads its peers in entering the 5G era, said Chen Rugui, the mayor of the southern city in China’s Guangdong province, at a press conference.

The total number of 5G base stations in Shenzhen has exceeded 46 thousand, putting the city ahead of schedule, according to Jia Xingdong, the head of Shenzhen’s Municipal Industrial and Information Technology Bureau.

Shenzhen, a coastal city neighboring Hong Kong, is a leading business, innovation and financial center in China.

In 1980, Shenzhen was designated a special economic zone as part of then-leader Deng Xiaoping’s reform and opening up policies. This quickly transformed the city from a small fishing village to the tech hub it is today, often considered “China’s Silicon Valley.” It is home to many Chinese startups and tech giants, such as Huawei and Tencent.

Two key factors are driving the rapid 5G adoption in Shenzhen, according to Charlie Dai, principal analyst at Forrester Research, Inc., an American-based research and advisory firm.

“Being a special economic zone, the Shenzhen government has an open mindset, streamlined administrative processes and business synergy with Hong Kong and Macau to facilitate tech-driven innovation,” Dai said. “What’s more, Huawei and ZTE, the two leading 5G tech leaders in China are both headquartered in Shenzhen, with local supply chains.”

Jia, the Shenzhen government official, said that in the next step the city will promote the development of 5G industries by making a number of breakthroughs in 5G technologies and building a comprehensive 5G application ecosystem, state-owned media Xinhua reported.

By the end of June, China had deployed more than 410 thousand 5G base stations, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China (MIIT).

Dai said that 5G will catalyze long-term transformation across industries for consumers, enterprises and the government.

However, the deployment of 5G base stations is only the first step from an infrastructure perspective, as it also requires ecosystem collaboration, including telco carriers, smartphone manufacturers as well as business application and cloud service providers, to unleash the power of 5G, according to Dai.

“Striking the right balance between technology investment and business outcomes is always the biggest challenge for emerging tech adoption like 5G,” Dai said. “Decision-makers should not expect silver-bullet 5G applications. Instead, they should aim at long-term business transformation.”

China granted licenses to telecom carriers for commercial 5G services last June. On Oct.31, 2019, China officially kicked off commercialization of its 5G services, with the nation’s big three telecom operators – China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom – rolling out their 5G data plans.

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Over the past year, China has built over 250 thousand 5G bases and the number of 5G users exceeded 36 million, said Lu Chuncong, an MIIT official, state-owned media GlobalTimes reported.

China is ramping up efforts to encourage the implementation of “new infrastructure” in order to offset the economic impact of COVID-19 and boost sustainable growth. The country will accelerate the construction of new infrastructure, such as 5G networks and data centers, according to a March meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC’s Central Committee.

A total of 25 provincial-level regions have put new infrastructure projects in their government work reports, with 21 intending to advance 5G network construction.