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

2019-10-30 13:24:14Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Chinese mobile carriers have announced monthly 5G packages as cheap as 129 yuan ($28.70) ahead of the official launch of commercial 5G plans on Thursday, reflecting China’s ambition to lead in the 5G era. 

Three telecoms carriers - China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom - are expected to release commercial 5G plans on Thursday in Beijing. The package services would take effect from November 1, showing that the next generation of wireless technologies has officially entered daily life. 

“When we talked about 5G before - either the release of 5G phones or granting 5G licenses - it was still something 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. 

Before the nationwide rollout of 5G services, 10 million 5G customers preregistered with the three carriers, according to media reports. China Unicom offers a monthly 5G package priced at 129 yuan, which includes 30 gigabytes (GB) of data. Without changing SIM card or phone number, users will be able to tap into 5G services after switching to a 5G smartphone, media reports said. 

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

On China Mobile’s website, several 5G smartphone products are on sale, including the Huawei Mate20 X which is empowered by a 5G chipset, and vivo’s IQOO 5G phones. Industry analysts believe that the accelerated commercialization of 5G in China will help drive the country’s smartphone growth. 

“This is very ambitious plan as the largest beneficiary from this boom will be Huawei,” a veteran industry observer said, noting that other companies like Qualcomm, OPPO, vivo and Xiaomi will also grab opportunities during the market explosion. 

In contrast, US tech giant Apple may risk falling behind as it has not included 5G technology in its latest products, the observer noted. 

2019 has been a crucial year for the large-scale deployment of 5G base stations across China. China Mobile has established over 50,000 5G base stations and offers 5G commercial services in more than 50 cities. By 2020, all the prefecture-level cities will be covered by 5G services. 

Compared to monthly 5G packages unveiled by other countries, those offered by Chinese carriers are much cheaper. In South Korea, the first country to offer 5G service worldwide, local carrier LG Uplus offers three 5G packages with much smaller data plans. 9 GB will set users back $49 per month, 150 GB will cost $66 per month, and 250 GB will come at the price of $84 per month, according to Yonhap News.

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