When Is 5G Coming to China? (Updated for 2020)

China 5G Launch: All the Details

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.

In other words, 5G in China will be a much bigger thing than 5G...well, anywhere.

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.

Picture of a globe showing China
Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

China is just one country where 5G is available. There are also mobile telecom providers releasing 5G in the US.

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 providers have a network up and running now as well, or are looking into a 5G launch in China this year.

However, none of these companies currently provide widespread 5G coverage. The largest cities that have 5G access in China include Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen.

China Mobile 5G

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.

The 5G plan from China Mobile is available for less than $20 USD and gets you 30 GB of data at max speeds of 300 Mbps.

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 5G

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 5G

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.

3 Hong Kong 5G

Another company on the road to a 5G release in China is 3 Hong Kong. They launched their 5G services on April 1, 2020. Both indoor and outdoor 5G coverage is expected in all districts in Hong Kong before 2021.

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.

SmarTone 5G

SmarTone and Ericsson reached a deal in March 2020 to allow the two to deploy a 5G network in Hong Kong. In May 2020, 5G officially launched in some shopping malls, hotels, office buildings, and more.

You can sign up for a SmarTone 5G plan right now, but territory-wide coverage isn't expected until the middle of 2021.

Other Chinese 5G Networks

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.

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.