Chinese telecom operator invites bids for 5G

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BEIJING
China Mobile, the world’s largest telecom carrier by mobile subscribers, after winning a 5G commercial license a week ago has started its biggest effort so far to invite bids for network construction and smartphone testing. The world’s largest telecom operator has started accepting bids for the first phase of its 5G build-out in 2019, with the project’s pre-estimated price set at 19.26 billion yuan ($2.79 billion). The forecast price exceeded the investment size of roughly 17 billion yuan. China Mobile said earlier that it could pour into 5G this year, signifying that the company has ramped up the push to roll out the superfast network, analysts said. According to the Beijing-based company, it has released a notice on its official bidding website on June 10, detailing the requirements for the first phase of its 5G wireless network project in 2019. Just a day later, China Mobile, on the same website, said it will buy 10,100 smartphones from five domestic manufacturers for 5G testing, marking its biggest 5G smartphone order so far. That also means an accelerated step by China Mobile to promote 5G smartphones, as the company previously noted in a white paper that its plan was to buy more than 10,000 5G smartphones and other terminals in July. The company told China Daily that these smartphones, which include 5,000 units from domestic leader Huawei, are for experience testing for some users, and will not be sold to the public. Meanwhile, according to Nomura, a research company, China Mobile has awarded its first round of 5G network equipment contracts after China officially granted a 5G license to it on June 6. The company aims to offer 5G commercial services in 40 cities by September.

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