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5G networks

China meets 5G base station target 3 months early

Government push gives Huawei a boost as total surges to 690,000

Workers set up a 5G base station in China's Guizhou Province.   © Reuters

GUANGZHOU-- China has achieved its goal of building 500,000 new fifth-generation wireless base stations in 2020 well ahead of schedule, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said Thursday.

The country had a total of 690,000 base stations at the end of September, up 70% from June, with more than half a million deployed this year alone. Meanwhile, shipments of smartphones and other devices compatible with ultrafast 5G service topped 100 million in the first nine months of 2020.

China will "continuously deepen" its usage of 5G, industry ministry spokesperson Huang Libin said, citing examples including high-definition video, medicine and autonomous-driving technology.

The 5G drive benefits companies including Huawei Technologies, which is now essentially barred from accessing products made with American technology, as well as blocked from many countries' 5G networks. As tensions with the U.S. continue, Beijing aims to protect China's development capabilities and maintain and expand its edge in telecommunications and information technology.

The city of Shenzhen said in mid-August it had achieved "full coverage" of 5G service, the first in the country. The municipal government partnered with Huawei and Tencent Holdings, both based in Shenzhen, to lay out a plan to test industrial applications for 5G.

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