May 26, 2021

Spotlight on China

Although global travel remains heavily restricted, we're continuing our virtual world tour; meeting with our international teams to learn more about how the telecoms landscape in each region. This week's stop is with Rick Wei, Marketing Technical Sales Director APAC at RFS who shares his insights.

Rick Wei, Marketing Technical Sales Director APAC

Tell us a little about the telecom landscape in China.

Currently, the big focus in China when it comes to telecoms is the rollout of 5G. China reached 718,00 active 5G sites in 2020 – 70% of all global 5G sites. The region also added more than 200 million 5G subscribers/connections in 2020, taking its global 5G share to 87%, and by 2025 analysts predict that 47% of connections in China will be 5G. This fast adoption of 5G has, in part, fuelled the pace of the rollout with significant headway already made. Initial coverage in all cities almost complete, and there are big plans to improve and expand that coverage over the next few years. The aim is to install more than 600,000 new 5G sites per year over the next two years, with projects from China Mobile and China Broadcast planned to build a 700MHz 5G network with 400,000 sites by the end of 2021. With one of the highest unique mobile subscriber rates in the world, there is a huge commitment to ensuring that the infrastructure not only supports this demand but delivers some of the best connectivity in the world. 

Is there anything else unique about the China telecoms market?

The "New Construction Program" is unique to China and is part of the government's 5-year plan that will drive the three big operators to invest in 5G networks continually, maintaining China's position as a world leader when it comes to 5G connectivity. China also has a massive commitment to extending 5G coverage beyond street-level city environments to deliver a 5G experience on Metro services. It is worth emphasizing that this focus on 5G on Metro lines at such a large scale is something we are only really seeing in the China market. There are more than 50 Metro lines 5G coverage projects ongoing since the first 5G Metro Line was built in 2019. According to the government plan and China Tower target, 5G coverage should be implemented in 27 City Metros by 2025. 

What are the trends you are seeing in the telecoms industry over the next year?

One of the most exciting projects we're looking forward to seeing unfold is China Towers' commitment to shared 5G infrastructure. We know they have already reserved more than ten million lampposts and other site resources to help deliver the capacity widespread 5G adoption will require. We're looking forward to seeing that take shape. China Towers has also established an alliance of smart pole and smart tower providers to transform traditional communication sites. So we expect to see change as we shift to 5G and initiatives that will change the physical telecoms landscape become a reality. 

What do the next 12 months look like for RFS in China?

The priorities for MNOs in China line up very well, with some of the innovations we have coming from RFS. Our radiating cable is recognized worldwide as a go-to solution for delivering coverage in Metro environments – RFS equipment is installed in 41% of Metros globally. We have evolved our solution so it is ready to provide 5G connectivity, and so we expect to focus much of our attention on this space. However, we also have many BSA solutions, both existing and soon to be launched that will complement operator strategies in China, so hopefully, a busy 12 months ahead for RFS in the region. 

If you'd be interested to hear more about RFS's solutions for the China market, get in touch with Rick Wei, Marketing Technical Sales Director APAC.