China Mobile reportedly going big on NB-IoT through the end of the year
China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile operator in terms of subscribers, plans to deploy 118,000 NB-IoT base stations across the country during 2020, taking the total to 350,000, Chinese news site C114.net reported.
China Mobile stopped adding new IoT connections to its 2G network as the telco accelerates the deployment of NB-IoT infrastructure across the country, according to the report.
The company expects to migrate 2G IoT services to its NB-IoT and LTE-M networks, with the aim of shutting down its 2G network to free capacity for 4G and 5G services after re-farming the 900 MHz spectrum.
China Mobile had a total of 884 million IoT connections as of the end of December 2019 and reportedly runs the world’s largest NB-IoT network.
China is responsible for the vast majority of global IoT connections. In China, most of NB-IoT deployments were made for smart water and gas meters.
A previous report from the IoT analyst firm Berg Insight estimated that China accounted for 63% of the global installed base of cellular IoT connections in 2018. The Serdish consultancy firm noted that the Chinese government is actively driving adoption of these technologies as a tool for achieving domestic and economic policy goals.
“China is deploying cellular IoT technology at a monumental scale”, said Tobias Ryberg, principal analyst and author of the report.
China Mobile ended May with a total of 55. 6 million subscribers in the 5G segment, the company said in its website.
In May alone, the carrier added 11.86 million 5G subscribers. At the end of January, China Mobile had 6.7 million 5G subscribers while 5G customers at the end of last year amounted to 2.55 million.
The carrier’s total user base increased by 252,000 in May to 947 million. The telco also added 3.8 million 4G customers to end the month with 757.5 million.
In a new phase of its 5G program, China Mobile is aiming to acquire over 232,000 5G base stations as it looks to extend coverage to 28 regions across China.
The Chinese carrier has already completed the first phase of its 5G network deployment.
China Mobile had deployed nearly 50,000 5G base stations across the country as of the end of last year and currently provides 5G technology in 50 cities across China.