Coronavirus could delay China’s 5G roll-out

Policemen wearing masks as they patrol Wuhan Tianhe Airport during Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.
Policemen wearing masks as they patrol Wuhan Tianhe Airport during Wuhan coronavirus outbreak. (Image credit: Future)

Analysts have warned that if China’s 5G technology is held back, it could damage the government’s quest to fully launch 5G before America and win the 5G race

5G is very much considered a national priority in China as it aims to boost credentials in technology and semiconductors. But companies have been telling employees to stay at home, whilst the Lunar New Year holiday has also been extended. This means that the physical installation of base stations will be negatively impacted, as all 5G work grinds to a halt. 

“The 5G base station installations in multiple cities in China may be impacted by the virus, in our view, which could be a drag on China’s 5G deployment,” explained financial services company China Renaissance, earlier this week. “We expect the extended Chinese New Year holiday and a series of quarantine measures to cause delays to the 5G base station installations on towers.”

China has been ahead of schedule with 5G, switching on networks back in November 2019. However, further progress now has the potential to be significantly slowed due to the rare and deadly illness sweeping the country. 

Who will win the 5G race? 

Beating the US in the race to roll-out 5G is especially important to Chinese president Xi Jinping. This is mainly due to America’s ban on Chinese technology companies, most notably Huawei. This ban had a knock-on effect with other countries, causing a number of governments around the world to also place a ban on the Chinese tech giant. 

However, according to US publishing executive Steve Forbes, the fact that the US government has banned the supplier has made it “more difficult to roll-out 5G networks quickly”.

But whoever is to win the race for 5G dominance, it will certainly see huge growth and economic benefits, whilst placing the winning country at the top of the technology ladder, boosting businesses and creating thousands of new job roles. 

And if China hopes to get there before America, it will need a speedy recovery from the current scenario brought on by the coronavirus outbreak.

Fiona Leake

Fiona discovered her love for investing and making money from a young age. Since then this interest has grown and now she loves writing about investing and business, and follows the 5G market closely. She is also a technology enthusiast, and so they tend to be her favourite investments.