Recently, LightCounting released its China Wireless Infrastructure and Macroeconomic Update Report for the first half of 2022. The report provides an update on China’s 5G radio access development, including macroeconomics, geopolitics, and technology.


China's 4G and 5G BTS

The data for the first half of 2022 shows that at the beginning of 2022, China’s economy has encountered serious challenges, and the economic growth rate has slowed down significantly, which has seriously affected the 5.5% annual GDP growth plan.


Stephane Teral, principal analyst at LightCounting Market Research, said: “China’s economic rise would not have happened without a solid and vast telecom infrastructure. As 5G is a key enabler of China’s digital economy, 5G deployments in China in the first half of this year Remaining stable, it is expected that deployments throughout the year may exceed initial plans.”


Since the telecom restructuring in 2009, the three major service providers China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom have gradually risen. As of December 31, 2021, the three service providers had deployed 9.96 million 2G/3G/4G/5G base stations (BTS), of which 1.42 million were 5G base stations. As of July 31, 2022, China had 1.97 million 5G base stations, according to a report from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.


The main findings of this issue of LightCounting’s China Wireless Infrastructure Report are as follows:

  1. China is isolated and independent, dividing the world into two spheres of influence: East and West, which is defined by geopolitics rather than geographic tags. In the East, China is the only country on the rise, while the West grows slowly but is much larger than China in terms of GDP, with huge wealth and R&D budgets.


  1. 5G, and the upcoming 6G, remains at the heart of China’s economic transition from industry to services. According to the Chinese government, there are more than 10,000 5G application cases, covering 22 industries such as agriculture, steel, electricity, mining and other fields related to the national economy.


  1. The Chinese RAN market is expected to experience high single-digit annual growth this year, driven by the deployment of additional 5G base stations that were not planned by service providers earlier this year.


  1. In the medium and long term, LightCounting’s 4G/5G RAN forecast model shows that China’s 4G/5G market will fluctuate before 2026. The research firm predicts that 2026 will be the year China starts 6G.