China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile carrier by subscribers, plans to invest 40 billion yuan ($6.28 billion) over the next five years to expand its cloud computing facilities, fixed and wireless infrastructure in Hubei province, central China.
In a statement, China Mobile said the operator signed a strategic agreement last Friday with Hubei provincial government to support the latter’s smart city project, “Smart Hubei”, in the province during the years of 2016 to 2020.
The partnership, which marks the third time the two parties have worked together since 2009, will see China Mobile accelerate the buildout of its 4G infrastructure to province-wide coverage.
China Mobile, which currently has 45,000 4G/LTE base stations covering over 8 million 4G customers in Hubei, will upgrade its 4G network by deploying carrier aggregation technology and explore new technologies like 5G during the period.
The operator will also speed up the deployment of fiber in a bid to provide high-speed fixed broadband access and services to all the prefectures and rural areas across the province.
China Mobile will meanwhile accelerate the construction of new cloud computing infrastructure in Wuhan and Xiangyang, the company added.
In early August China Mobile completed the first phase of its data center in Xiangyang and put it into operation. The Xiangyang data center, which is scheduled to be completed in four phases, will have a planned floor area of 327,000 square meters.
The new energy-saving data center is aimed at providing governmental departments and enterprises with high quality and cost-effective access services to support the local development of emerging technologies, such as cloud computing, mobile internet and big data in Hubei, China Mobile noted.
As part of the collaboration, China Mobile will also develop applications and services to support resources and information sharing among all governmental departments with the use of big data technology, enabling the Hubei provincial government to provide a one-stop public services platform to enterprises and citizens.