5G mobile networks which provide high-speed mobile internet services, allowing users to download entire movies in seconds Photo: AFP

China rolls out 5G services in race to narrow tech gap


China's three major state telecom operators rolled out 5G wireless technology Thursday, as the country races to narrow its technology gap with the U.S. amid a bruising trade war.

China Mobile, the country's largest carrier, announced its 5G services were available in 50 cities -- including Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen -- with packages starting from 128 yuan ($18) a month.

Rivals China Telecom and China Unicom are also offering services at comparable prices in major cities, according to notices on their websites.

The ultra-fast mobile internet service -- which is 100 times faster than existing 4G networks -- allows consumers to download full-length films within seconds, or use apps with virtual reality.

The technology will also pave the way for driverless cars, further automation in factories, and allow users to remotely control appliances such as coffee makers and ovens via the internet.

China is expected to be a front-runner in the adoption of 5G services with over 170 million 5G subscribers by next year, according to estimates by China Telecom.

South Korea will be in second place with a predicted 75,000 users, followed by the U.S. with 10,000, analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein said in a research note last week.

"China will promote the deep integration of new generation information technology and the real economy," said Chen Zhaoxiong, vice minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology at a technology conference Thursday.

"This involves accelerating the integration and application of 5G in industries, transportation, energy, agriculture, education and health," Chen said, according to a statement on the ministry's website.

Beijing has been pushing for a quick rollout of the technology, and China's state economic planner said in January that developing a 5G network was one of its "investment priorities" this year.

Despite the success of 5G networks at home, Chinese telecom equipment giants have faced regulatory push back abroad.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Monday said it was considering blocking telecom carriers from buying equipment from Chinese tech companies Huawei and ZTE.

The U.S. is also threatening crippling sanctions on Huawei, which is expected to be a leading player in offering 5G network hardware.

Washington has expressed fears that Huawei's equipment could contain security loopholes that allow China to spy on global communications traffic, and has been lobbying European countries to stay clear of it.

The company has repeatedly denied the U.S. accusations.

© 2019 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

I, for one, am in no hurry for 5G, its coming, great but no rush. I am sure it will be more expensive and I am happy with 4G

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Things they conveniently leave out concerning these 5G rollout articles:

The $18 price is ont top of whatever 4G plan they are already on. This means that the service will drop out frequently and revert to 4G until such time as there are 5G arrays set up to match existing 4G coverage. This will take far longer than they are saying 'by next year'. They are simply referring to plain accessibility, not what you can actually do with that access.

South Korea will be in second place with a predicted 75,000 users - This is pocket change in terms of subscribers. If that's all you need to claim second place then it's not even newsworthy ranking countries like this.

China will promote the deep integration of new generation information technology - Yes, promote. This race to rollout 5G is simply an attempt to be the first one to say that they're the first. It doesn't matter to them if it's a quality network that actually usable. So long as there's an array in the middle of a city with a 100m radius, they will say they are 'at the forefront'. That being the case, who cares. Wake everyone up when it's ready to take over from 4G properly.

Agree with bobfor2, quality over early (extremely limited, not even worth using) access.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Who did they steal the Intel from?

3 ( +3 / -0 )


South Korea will be in second place with a predicted 75,000 users

Huh, Korea just crossed 4 million 5G subscribers at the end of October, 5 million by the end of this year.

Heck, Samsung and LG aren't even releasing LTE variant of flagship phones in Korea anymore.

Just because Japan is falling behind everyone else nowadays doesn't mean the same is happening in Korea and China.


5G subscribers in Korea estimated to hit 5 million this year

The number of 5G mobile subscribers in South Korea is expected to surpass 5 million within this year as the new generation network adds 500,000 on average per month.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites