China Mobile stopped adding new IoT connections to its 2G network as it accelerates construction of NB-IoT infrastructure across the country, reported.

The market leader plans to deploy 118,000 NB-IoT base stations this year, taking the total to 350,000, the news portal wrote. The company will migrate 2G IoT services to its NB-IoT and LTE-M networks, with the aim of closing the 2G network to free capacity for 4G and 5G services after refarming the 900MHz spectrum.

China Mobile had 693 million IoT connections at end-June 2019 and reportedly runs the world’s largest NB-IoT network. China apparently accounts for the vast majority of global NB-IoT connections, with uptake elsewhere slow as some operators ended the service in favour of relying on 4G or 5G networks.

NTT Docomo in Japan, for example, shut its NB-IoT network at end-March, as it looks to prioritise resources and turn its focus to LTE-M.