Chinese carriers unveil 5G price packages as new technology comes to life

By Chen Qingqing Source:Global Times Published: 2019/10/30 19:08:40

After long wait, disruptive technology comes to life in China

A robot with a 5G logo shakes hand with a person. Photo: IC

Most Chinese mobile carriers are expected to announce 5G monthly packages as low as 129 yuan ($28.7) ahead of the official launch event for commercial 5G services on Thursday, reflecting China's ambition to lead in the 5G era. 

China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom are expected to release 5G commercial plans in Beijing, where they'll offer varied 5G packages for mobile users in China. The packages will take effect starting from Friday, showing that the next generation of wireless technologies has officially entered peoples' daily lives. 

"When we talked about 5G before, either the release of 5G-enabled phones or granting 5G licenses, it was still something intangible and far away. With the unveiling of 5G tariff packages, it's effectively commercializing the technology," Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Beijing-based Information Consumption Alliance, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

So far, 10 million 5G customers have preregistered to hook to the 5G networks run by the three carriers, according to media reports. China Unicom offers a 5G monthly tariff package of 129 yuan including 30 gigabytes (GB) of data, and users won't have to change their SIM cards or phone numbers, media reports said. 

The carrier also offers packages of 159 yuan with 40 GB of data, 199 yuan with 60 GB of data and 299 yuan with 100 GB. 

On the website of China Mobile, for example, there are several 5G smartphones presented such as the Huawei Mate20 X, empowered by a 5G chipset, and vivo's IQOO 5G phones. Industry analysts said that the accelerated commercialization of 5G in China would also help drive the country's 5G smartphone explosion. 

"This is a very ambitious plan, as the largest beneficiary from this boom would be Huawei," a veteran industry observer said, noting that other companies such as Qualcomm, OPPO, vivo and Xiaomi would also grab some opportunities as the market expands.

In contrast, US technology giant Apple may risk being left behind, as it has not included 5G technology into its latest product, the observer noted. 

This has been a crucial year for massive deployment of 5G base stations in China. China Mobile has rolled out more than 50,000 and it will offer 5G commercial services in more than 50 Chinese cities. By 2020, all prefecture-level cities would be covered by 5G services. 

Compared with 5G monthly tariff packages unveiled by other countries, the packages offered by Chinese carriers are much cheaper. For instance, in South Korea, the first country to offer 5G service worldwide, local carrier LG Uplus offers three 5G packages with much smaller data plans. It is offering 9GB for $49 per month, 150GB for $66 per month, and 250GB for $84 per month, according to the Yonhap News.

Offering cheaper 5G price packages is also part of China's broader campaign to reducing the costs of mobile internet services while paving a foundation for future innovations. 

Analysts also predicted that the "real winner" of 5G commercialization will be China as the next generation of ultrafast connections will groom more innovations and new businesses. 

Newspaper headline: Carriers unveil 5G tariff packages


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