More than 600,000 5G base stations were built and put into operation in China in 2020, a spokesperson from the country's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said at a press conference on Tuesday.
Tian Yulong, also chief engineer of the MIIT, said China witnessed an overall steady and sound development in the information and communications sector in 2020.
The number of 5G terminal connections exceeded 200 million, covering all cities at and above the prefectural level.
Total telecommunication services experienced a year-on-year growth of 20.6 percent, and the revenue from software and information services rose 13.3 percent from 2019, said Tian.
5G technology has been applied in multiple scenarios, said Zhao Zhiguo, Information and Communication Administration director of the MIIT.
More than 1,100 5G+ industrial internet projects were launched in 2020, and 5G-based remote consultation was utilized in more than 60 hospitals in 19 provinces.
New models and forms facilitated by 5G are emerging, such as 5G+ autonomous driving, 5G+ smart grid, and 5G+ online education, he added.
"5G technology is playing an increasingly important role in empowering industries, benefiting society and serving the people," stressed Zhao. "It is becoming a significant driving force behind high-quality economic development."
In 2021, China will promote the development of 5G in a three-pronged approach.
First, the country will enhance its network coverage capacity. It will build another 600,000 5G base stations in 2021, and accelerate the 5G coverage in counties and towns where conditions permit.
"We will build networks in key sections such as industry, energy, transportation, medical care and education, to achieve 5G network coverage in a wider range and at more levels," Zhao said.
The second is to improve innovation in 5G applications. New consumption models such as 5G+ VR, AR are encouraged, and life services enabled by 5G technology in fields including health care, housekeeping are to be promoted. The country will also accelerate transforming the network of traditional industries and optimizing production processes with 5G technology, so as to help enterprises reduce costs, improve quality and efficiency, and achieve green development.
Besides, China is also expected to advance the development and deployment of key technologies such as network slicing and edge computing, as well as key products and devices including customized and economical 5G chips, modules and terminals.