Until the companies or MIIT reveal definite plans, it's impossible to give a firm estimate of China's 2019 build. China just moved up the date of officially going commercial, and Minister Miao ordered the telcos to accelerate 5G. Training the tens of thousand installers needed could hold things back. My guess is the higher estimates are more likely, especially after Minister Miao Wei ordered the telcos to "accelerate."
Analyst Joe Madden last summer predicted a "tidal wave" of China 5G. Early this year, Bing Dong of Nomura estimated 172,000 5G cells in 2019. Few in the West accepted those figures. After all, the combined networks of AT&T and Verizon are below 172,000 bases.
In February, the three Chinese carriers released capital spending plans for 2019. They weren't explicit about how many base stations they would cover, but my inference from their numbers was the 2019 total would be about 70,000. Several Chinese news sources continue to use similar numbers.
Late May, China Daily reported that the three giants would each have 30,000 to 50,000 5G bases in October, referencing ZTE and China Mobile. This week, Sina.com.cn reported an analyst estimate over 200,000.
The companies may be waiting for a few months results before making a plan.