When Is 5G Coming to China? (Updated for 2020)
Parts of China have 5G access right now, and lots more are coming. The country already leads the world in the mobile market sector, so it makes sense that it'll reach the top in terms of 5G users; GSMA estimates 460 million 5G connections in China by 2025.
Currently, there are a few primary 5G players in China that are bringing about this ultrafast new wireless technology. It's only a matter of time before you can take advantage of all that 5G will offer in your area.
If you’re not familiar with 5G, it’s the next generation of wireless technology. When comparing 5G to 4G, we see way faster speeds and much lower delays, which for you, means accessing data more quickly and having a smoother experience when watching movies, playing games, browsing the web, etc.
China 5G Rollout Plans
Three wireless carriers launched 5G in China on October 31, 2019: China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom. A few other mobile providers are looking into a 5G launch in China, too.
China Mobile has made 5G available in Beijing, Shanghai, and nearly 50 other cities. Being the world’s biggest mobile phone operator with nearly one billion subscribers, there’s no doubt that China Mobile is on track to deliver its customers a 5G network.
China Mobile isn’t new to the 5G space. They were researching 5G technology with Ericsson in 2015, set up a 5G base station in June of 2017 in Guangdong, and launched another 5G trial network in Beijing just a month later. They even have a 5G network in the Hongqiao railway station.
China Unicom is the world’s fourth-largest mobile service provider. With such a large subscriber base, it makes sense that it's one of the front runners of 5G in China.
Before China Unicom's 5G launch, they had a fifth-gen network set up in very few locations since most if not all of them were test projects, with the exception of a few like the 5G base stations in Tiananmen Square that were launched in early 2019.
Some of the 5G cities mentioned by China Unicom include Beijing, Tianjin, Qingdao, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Wuhan, Guiyang, Chengdu, Fuzhou, Zhengzhou, and Shenyang. The plan is that each of these locations will build 100 5G base stations.
China Telecom has launched 5G in a subway station in Chengdu called Taipingyang Station. There's also 5G coverage in airports and other areas of Hubei.
Another company on the road to a 5G release in China is 3 Hong Kong. It's expected that 5G services will be launched in mid-2020.
The company announced in late November, 2018, that they completed their first outdoor 5G trial in the 3.5 GHz and 28 GHz spectrum bands. This was performed at a 5G cell site in Causeway Bay, and produced speeds over 2 Gb/s.
In October of 2019, 3 Hong Kong made a successful bid for spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band to be used for 5G deployment.
China’s 34-mile long Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao bridge is expected to get 5G in the coming years via the bridge's network operator, ZTE Corp. However, an official release date hasn't been given.
In January 2020, ZTE helped China Telecom realize China's first 5G remote diagnosis of a new coronavirus pneumonia.
6G in China
Not long after 5G came to China was it clear that 6G would start being worked on. Research institutes, universities, and government departments are already researching 6G before most of the world has had a taste for 5G.
China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, which first started their 6G research in March of 2018, claims that a commercial version of the sixth generation of wireless technology will be released by 2030.