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China’s MNOs are deploying 5G at vast scale, but will it be profitable?

Talk of a ‘5G race’ between the USA and China has been noisy this year, and reached right to the heads of state of both countries, as one strand in their ongoing battles over trade, security and world leadership. The USA certainly ‘won’ in terms of timing, with Verizon and AT&T turning on 5G last year, despite the disadvantage of a lack of midband spectrum. That forced them to deploy first in millimeter wave spectrum (initially for fixed wireless), a choice that will force them to see their Chinese counterparts overtake comfortably in terms of scale. Five months ago, the Chinese MNOs – China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, plus new entrant China Broadcasting Network – were allocated licences…

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