China 5G leads, with Star Network following in its wake


On April 26, 2021, the Chinese government issued a document establishing the “China Satellite Network Group Co., Ltd.,” also known as the “National Grid” or “Star Network.” This central enterprise was founded by the Chinese government to accelerate the development of satellite internet communication. The establishment of “Star Network” signifies China’s significant layout in the global satellite internet field, aiming to deploy a large number of satellites to form a scaled network to provide broadband internet access and other communication services. Strategically, the establishment and future development of China Satellite Network Group Co., Ltd. reflect China’s expectations for rapid growth in the satellite internet market. Chinese state media and aerospace industry leaders predict that by 2030, the domestic satellite internet market could be worth 100 billion yuan (about $15.5 billion), indicating that China could occupy about one-third of the global market share. This also represents that with technological development, China and the world have entered the 5G era together.

China CSCN

China 5G: China Star Network and the SpaceX

Compared to the satellite network of the American SpaceX, China’s Satellite Network (China Star Network) has its plans and characteristics in terms of orbital height, the number of satellites, and coverage area. Typically, satellites for space internet services are deployed in low Earth orbit (LEO), which helps reduce signal transmission delays from the ground to the satellite, improving the speed and quality of network services. The height of low Earth orbit is usually between 200 and 2,000 kilometers. As for the specific orbital height, the Starlink project’s satellites are deployed at an orbital height of about 550 kilometers.

Technologically and strategically, the China Satellite Network Group faces challenges and opportunities closely related to competition with other countries, such as the American company SpaceX. Especially in the field of LEO satellite internet, China is striving to overcome key technological barriers in satellite construction and launch to achieve large-scale, low-cost constellation deployment. Chinese analysts point out that compared to companies like SpaceX, China faces gaps in reusable launch vehicle technology and high-speed satellite manufacturing, which are among the main obstacles China faces in achieving large-scale LEO satellite deployment.

5G technology aims to deliver high-speed, low-latency communication services at the terrestrial level, particularly suited for densely populated urban areas. In contrast, satellite networks like the China Satellite Network Group and SpaceX’s Starlink project are committed to filling communication gaps in remote areas and over the seas, ensuring seamless internet coverage globally. The integration of these two technologies heralds a future of comprehensive connectivity, where stable and efficient communication services are accessible in every corner of the Earth, as well as in the air and at sea. China’s efforts in advancing 5G and satellite network development not only demonstrate its leadership in the global communications technology field but also offer valuable experience and models for countries worldwide in achieving broader network coverage and higher communication efficiency.

The Unexpected Risks between the Chinese Space Station and American SpaceX in Space

In 2023, there were close encounters between the Chinese space station and SpaceX’s Starlink satellites. These incidents, which occurred on July 1 and October 21, forced the Chinese space station to take evasive actions to avoid collisions with SpaceX’s Starlink satellites. Astronauts were on board the space station during these incidents, and these close encounters were considered to pose risks to the life and health of astronauts.

In the first incident, the Starlink-1095 satellite descended from its original orbit of 555 kilometers to about 382 kilometers and had a close encounter with the Chinese space station, forcing the latter to take evasive action. The second encounter involved another Starlink satellite, which underwent an “unknown” orbital change operation in October, again forcing the Chinese space station to implement collision avoidance control.

These incidents highlight the challenges of space congestion and satellite safety management, especially in low Earth orbit, which has become a rapidly expanding area for commercial satellites and space debris. Experts estimate that once Starlink completes the deployment of its 12,000 satellites, it will be involved in 90% of all close encounters, indicating that this issue is becoming “out of control.” SpaceX states that its Starlink satellites are equipped with autonomous orbit-changing features to avoid collisions, but these close encounters and potential threats to the International Space Station and other spacecraft underscore the need for more effective global space traffic management and avoidance strategies.

These incidents also prompted China to file a complaint with the United Nations Secretary-General, emphasizing that all parties to the Outer Space Treaty should bear responsibility for their actions. SpaceX and other commercial companies plan to deploy their own internet service constellations in space, further raising concerns about orbital safety and the negative impact on astronomical observations.

China Space Station-China 5G-satellites

The Significance of China Satellite Network (China Star Network) and 5G Phones

Whether it is iPhone and Huawei users in China using 5G networks or users in the United States using any device that supports 5G networks, their experience is primarily based on the network services provided by telecom operators in their respective countries and regions. SpaceX’s Starlink service may offer these devices an alternative form of internet access in the future, especially in areas with insufficient broadband service, but it does not directly replace or compete with existing 4G/5G mobile communication technology.

At the same time, the China Satellite Network (China Star Network) and 5G technology are two different communication technologies that play a key role in enhancing China’s and the global communication capability and internet access, but they focus on different areas and application scenarios.

China Satellite Network (China Star Network):

  • Aims to provide broadband internet services globally by deploying satellite groups, especially offering high-speed internet connections in remote areas and seas where traditional networks are difficult to cover where traditional networks have difficulty reaching.
  • This project emphasizes creating a network system composed of satellites to achieve global coverage, particularly suitable for addressing network coverage issues in geographically remote locations.
  • The China Satellite Network highlights improving network access capabilities through space infrastructure, especially in remote and uncovered areas.

China 5G Technology:

  • Is a mobile communication technology primarily deployed on ground-based infrastructure, offering higher data transmission speeds, lower latency, and broader connectivity.
  • The deployment of 5G networks is mainly focused on urban and densely populated areas, aiming to provide fast network services for smartphone users and other mobile devices.
  • 5G technology is crucial for driving the development of high-bandwidth applications such as the Internet of Things (IoT), autonomous vehicles, high-definition video streaming, and augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR).

In summary, although China Satellite Network (China Star Network) and 5G technology both aim to enhance communication capabilities and network access, the former focuses more on global coverage through satellite networks, especially in areas unreachable by traditional networks; while the latter advances the next generation of mobile communication technology on the ground, providing high-speed data transmission services for users. Together, they play complementary roles in achieving global network connectivity and the digitalization process.

China 5G and Global Cooperation

In the field of mobile communication technology, the United States continues to advance the development of 4G and 5G networks, without abandoning or shifting its pursuit of 5G technology due to SpaceX or similar projects. In fact, U.S. carriers, such as Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, are actively deploying 5G networks. SpaceX’s Starlink project primarily aims to provide high-speed broadband internet services, especially in remote areas or where traditional broadband services are difficult to cover. This service complements traditional mobile networks (such as 5G) rather than replacing them.

SpaceX’s Starlink project, by deploying thousands of satellites in low Earth orbit, offers high-speed internet access globally. This technology primarily addresses the issue of broadband internet access, especially in areas where ground infrastructure cannot cover or provide high-speed internet services.

Thus, SpaceX’s technology and 5G are two different technologies serving different needs and markets. The United States has not given up on mobile communication technology but continues to promote and deploy 5G nationwide, while SpaceX’s Starlink project provides a new form of broadband internet access to users worldwide.


The current human world is beyond imagination. With the widespread adoption of 5G, the formal emergence of Open AI, the birth of artificial robots, and, most importantly, AI chips, we are at the dawn of a new era. Of course, this also depends on the risks associated with electricity, photovoltaics, and energy storage. Finally, each of us is opening our eyes to the arrival of a new era.


1. “中国卫星网络集团有限公司” 百度百科.  Available at:中国卫星网络集团有限公司/56870011

2. “SpaceX satellites’ near-misses fuel US-China tensions” Available at:

3. “A Chinese Starlink? PRC Views on Building a Satellite Internet Megaconstellation” Available at:

4. “SpaceX Starlink satellites twice came too close, China tells UN chief” Available at:

Published by: Mr. Mao Rida. You are welcome to share this article, but please credit the author and include the website link when doing so. Thank you for your support and understanding.
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