Biz / Tech

Mobile carriers start commercial use of 5G

Zhu Shenshen
The 5G packages start from 128 yuan per month. Shanghai currently has over 13,000 5G base stations to cover downtown and areas of Hongqiao and Zhangjiang.
Zhu Shenshen
Mobile carriers start commercial use of 5G

Combination photo taken in a China Telecom branch in Beijing on Thursday shows the comparison of uploading and downloading speed between 4G service and 5G service.

Mobile carriers launched 5G wireless services and unveiled customer packages on Thursday, marking the start of commercial use of the new technology. 

China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom announced the beginning of commercial use in major cities nationwide including Shanghai —  the latest move when the country steps up development of super-fast wireless technology infrastructure since authorities issued 5G licenses to operators in June. 

The 5G packages revealed today range between 128 yuan (US$18.3) and 599 yuan.

An increased user base and mature technology have made consumer prices relatively affordable, said the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

By September, China's three major telecom operators had built more than 80,000 5G base stations. The total number is expected to hit 130,000 this year. By 2025, the 5G construction investment will hit 1.2 trillion yuan.

More than 200,000 users have subscribed to 5G services in Shanghai, said China Mobile’s Shanghai operation.

Currently, Shanghai has built over 13,000 5G base stations, one-tenth of the national total. 5G signals now cover downtown and areas of Hongqiao and Zhangjiang. By the end of this year, 5G signals will cover most of the city.

Regulators will focus on package fees, services and 5G data security to ensure user experience, Chen Jiezhong, head of the Shanghai Communications Administration, said during a ceremony held in Shanghai today.

In the future, 5G will integrate with health care, entertainment and industrial sectors to make Shanghai a smart city, local officials said.

5G availability, price and device

Users with 5G handsets can enjoy 5G services without switching SIM cards. Currently, vendors including Huawei, Vivo and Samsung have launched 5G models in China. Apple hasn’t launched any 5G models yet.

In Shanghai, 5G packages start from 128 yuan, including 30 gigabyte data traffic, 500 minutes of calling and value-added services. The 599-yuan packages include 300 GB data traffic and 3,000 minutes of calling. Extra data traffic costs 3 to 5 yuan for each gigabyte, according to local carriers.

Existing users can enjoy discounts of 20 to 30 percent for switching to 5G services for six months, which makes some 5G packages less than 100 yuan each month.

China Telecom’s Shanghai branch also launched bundled packages of 5G and family broadband, which costs from 199 yuan each month.

Smartphone vendors are also stepping up 5G model launches.

Huawei will start selling its Mate 30 5G model and virtual reality glasses on Friday. Oppo has also announced that it will launch new 5G models in December.

Apple is expected to release 5G models next year using Qualcomm’s 5G processors, media reported today.

Mobile carriers start commercial use of 5G
Shen Xinyi / SHINE

A comparison of 4G and 5G services

Special Reports