China has overtaken Europe by building hundreds of thousands of masts to carry superfast 4G mobile signals and Western executives warn it will pull further ahead with its plans to more than double construction this year.
While the take-up of 4G services in China lags behind the rollout of base stations – given services only became commercially available last month – the scale of the infrastructure building underlines the country's ambitions .
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China Mobile became the country's first 4G operator in December last year and it built about 200,000 base stations in advance of the launch. That is already more than are deployed Europewide, according to analysts at HSBC and CCS Insight. China Mobile's network covers as many as 500 million people in the important cities on the country's east coast.