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China's networks join 5G party today, starting at $18 a month

Want the fastest 5G speeds? China's networks say you'll need to spend more money.

Published onNovember 1, 2019

We’ve already seen 5G networks launch in the US and Europe, and now China has officially joined the party as well. The country’s three major networks have all launched 5G service in the market today.

China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom are all offering similar price plans for 5G service, according to SCMP and Reuters. Prices start at 128 yuan a month (~$18), and this gets you 30GB of data to use on the new generation networks. Need more data? Then splashing out 599 yuan (~$85) gets you 300GB of mobile data.

Oddly enough, SCMP adds that users will need to subscribe to more expensive plans to get faster speeds. It notes that China Mobile’s entry-level 5G plan is limited to 300Mbps, while users on the 869 yuan per month (~$123) family plan gain access to gigabit speeds.

What is 5G, and what can we expect from it?
Red 5G logo

The launch makes it one of the largest 5G deployments around, according to the Chinese government. The government noted that over 86,000 5G base stations have already been activated in the country, covering 50 cities. It added that over 130,000 5G base stations are set to be activated by the end of the year.

News of China’s 5G launch comes after the likes of Huawei and Xiaomi recently launched 5G phones in the market. HUAWEI started selling the 5G versions of its Mate 30 series, while Xiaomi recently launched the Mi 9 Pro 5G.

But 2020 is expected to be a major year for adoption of 5G smartphones globally, as manufacturers bring more affordable devices to market. Chipset giant Qualcomm has also confirmed that it’s bringing 5G connectivity to its cheaper Snapdragon 700 and Snapdragon 600 series.

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