A Huawei 5G base station installed on a rooftop in Zurich. Photo: Chen Qingqing/GT
There are challenges for China's 5G base stations such as high electricity consumption and the need to update equipment, but those are early-stage problems that can be solved with more government support, analysts said.
According to China Tower, the nation's telecoms tower infrastructure services provider, the typical power consumption of a single system in 5G base station is around 3,500 watts, while for a 4G station, it is only 1,300 watts.
China Tower told the Global Times on Tuesday that telecom operators pay for the power consumption of base stations, so this expense will not affect the business and profitability of the company.
Domestic operators including China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom have spent more than 41 billion yuan ($5.9 billion) so far on 5G, with China Mobile spending the most at 24 billion yuan, according to earnings reports of the three companies covering the first three quarters of the year.
Ma Jihua, a Beijing-based independent telecommunications analyst, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the current major cost challenges for 5G base stations are electricity rates and software updates, both of which are solvable.
"Although electricity bills will be higher at the early stage, domestic operators can solve this problem by reducing costs and adopting flexible configurations. These operators are not short of cash," Ma said.
"In terms of equipment updates for aging base stations, local governments are very actively supporting it, so it is not a big problem as well," Ma said.
The central and local governments have introduced policies to support 5G, including measures to reduce electricity costs for communication base stations.