Huawei and ZTE were the big winners in China Mobile’s latest tender of 5G contracts, with the pair snapping up over 85% of base stations, according to the results announced Tuesday by the state-owned telecom carrier.
The contracts to build 232,143 fifth-generation wireless network base stations in 28 provincial-level regions were put out for tender in early March. Huawei won the lion’s share and will build 57.2% of the base stations, while 28.7% went to ZTE Corp.
Another Chinese enterprise — a consortium between two little-known companies — took a 2.6% share. The only foreign company to win any tenders was Sweden’s Ericsson, with an 11.4% share.
The contracts were valued at 37 billion yuan ($5.2 billion), with China Mobile paying 153,000 yuan on average for each 5G base station, about a quarter less than the low end of what the market predicted it would pay, which was from 200,000 yuan to 250,000 yuan, according to a note released by consultancy Jefferies on Tuesday.
China Mobile is the largest of country’s three largest state-owned carriers. The company has been at the center of Beijing’s effort to roll out 5G networks across the country. China plans to build a total of 630,000 base stations by the end of this year, with China Mobile responsible for about half of that total. As of the end of February, China Mobile had 80,000.
The company had said it would spend 180 billion yuan on 5G this year.