Data from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) reportedly showed operators had deployed 3.4 million 5G base stations at end-2023, with the three major mobile players adding 278 million package customers across the year.

More than 80 per cent of administrative villages nationwide have 5G connectivity, telecoms portal reported.

Operator statistics for December 2023 showed the big three ended the year with a combined 1.4 billion 5G package customers.

China Mobile had 794.5 million, an increase of 180.5 million; China Telecom 318.7 million (50.7 million); and China Unicom nearly 260 million (47 million).

The number of 5G subscribers with compatible handsets reached 805 million, MIIT reportedly estimated.

Only China Mobile releases 5G network customer numbers in its quarterly numbers: it ended Q3 2023 with 425 million and is due to release Q4 2023 figures in March.