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China outpaces globe for 5G mobile core, MEC revenue growth


“When it comes to 5G SA networks with a 5G core, China leads the world”

China outstripped the rest of the globe for 5G Mobile Core Network (MCN) and Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) market revenue growth for the second quarter of 2022, according to newly-published research produced by Dell’Oro Group. 

“Worldwide market growth decelerated compared to 1Q 2022, from mid-single-digit percentage year-over-year (Y/Y) growth to low single-digit percentage Y/Y growth,” said Dell’Oro.

The MCN market in China reportedly grew by double digits for Q2, compared to a negative growth rate seen in the rest of the world. The report notes that the top five global MCN suppliers include Huawei, Ericsson, ZTE, Nokia and NEC. 

“While many service providers throughout the world talk about the future of 5G with some showcase applications and what it can do, it is a reality in China, at scale,” said Dell’Oro Group Research Director Dave Bolan.

Bolan noted China Broadnet deployed 5G Standalone during the quarter. The company is the fourth Chinese Mobile Network Operator (MNO) to do so, he added. The report indicates that China was also responsible for 75% of global 5G core infrastructure spending.

China Broadnet is the country’s newest telco. It launched 5G services in June. The company announced in August an expansion of 5G services in nine provinces, adding to the 20 where China Broadnet’s 5G service was already available as a trial commercial service. China Broadnet is the nation’s fourth mobile network, originally China Broadcasting Network. It acquired a commercial 5G service license from the central authorities in 2019 and rebranded earlier this year. The company uses 5G infrastructure owned by the country’s biggest mobile operator, China Mobile. Last year the two telcos said they aimed to initially deploy 400,000 5G base stations as part of the companies’ efforts to launch a shared 5G network. China Mobile revealed earlier this month that it had invested the equivalent of $8.7 billion in 5G infrastructure spending during the first half of the year. The company counted a total of one million 5G base stations in operation, serving 263 million subscribers.

“Only two other 5G SA networks have launched in 2022, KDDI in Japan, and Dish Wireless in the United States. As a result, when it comes to 5G SA networks with a 5G Core, China leads the world,” said Bolan. 

Bolan explained China Mobile’s aggressive MEC stance to RCR Wireless News. Consolidating compute and storage functions at edge sites closer to users and away from data centers helps carriers like China Mobile maintain more manageable backhaul transport costs. 

“The reason why China Mobile was so aggressive from day one in deploying public MEC is because they don’t own any long-distance traffic capability. So, they actually implemented MEC to save on backhaul,” he said.

Bolan sees this as a win-win scenario for telcos and enterprises alike. “That’s why I’m so surprised that the uptake is so slow [elsewhere]. The MNO can lower its cost and provide better service at the same time.”


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