China’s second largest mobile operator China Unicom announced that its dedicated Internet of Things (IoT) network has 565,000 base stations providing service to 31 provinces and 360 cities.

The operator, which runs the platform and IoT data centres from Nanjing and Guangzhou, added 10.5 million IoT connections in the first half of the year, taking its total to more than 20 million, said.

According to GSMA Intelligence the operator has a total 286 million mobile connections (including cellular M2M).

Its IoT platform was launched a year ago and focuses on connected cars, mobile payments, intelligent wearables, and industry and environmental monitoring.

In May it announced plans to conduct large-scale NB-IoT field trials in more than five cities this year and aims to start commercial deployment of the low power wide area technology by the end of the year and take coverage nationwide in 2018.

A week ago the operator filed a profit warning, stating it expects its first half net profit to decline by about 80 per cent compared with the same period last year.

China Unicom, which added 28 million 4G subscribers in H1 to end June with 72.4 million, continues to lag in 4G. Market leader China Mobile had 480 million 4G users at the end of June, while China Telecom had 90 million.

China Unicom added 216,000 4G base stations in H1, taking its total to 600,000. It claims 96.5 per cent 4G coverage in major cities and reaches 90 per cent of the population.

Market leader China Mobile – the world’s largest mobile operator – has about 1.1 million 4G base stations.