With China’s 5G network very much in the headlines, it’s easy to overlook the obvious question; “If/when can we use it?”.
Well not yet, at any rate, although that is beginning to change with the recent launch of a “5G Experience Centre” in Nanjing’s Jianye District.
We have heard a lot about the advantages, importance and sheer fun to be had in the usage of 5G, for instance downloading 4k movies in seconds. China is leading the way in terms of 5G development, and it will not be too long into the future until every one of us can use 5G in our daily life. On 6 June, The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology officially announced the issuance of 5G commercial licenses to China Telecom, China Mobile, China Unicom and China Radio and Television.
Western media has its own ideas as to the reason. CNBC has reported that, “China has given the go ahead for its major state-owned mobile carries to start rolling out next generation networks known as 5G, a move experts said was partly a response to the ongoing trade war with the U.S.”.
The director of China Mobile Technology Department, Wang XiaoYun, announced that 5G will be available for use in 40 Chinese cities by the end of this year. In Beijing, China Mobile now already covers Chang’an Jie, the 2nd Ring Road (East & West), the CBD and some metro stations. Luckily, Nanjing has been chosen by China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom as one of the trial cities.
Head of the pack at the moment is China mobile. In its store on Lushan Lu, members of the public may visit to try out 5G for themselves in the experience centre. Therein, tests show that the real-time download speed of 5G can reach a maximum of 1.4GB per second, while a 1GB movie can be downloaded in less than 8 seconds. 5G VR experience is also available in the centre, enabling real-time interaction in visiting a scenic spot, driving a car or attending a concert, for example.
It has been further reported by Nanjing Daily that 5G indoor base stations in Nanjing will also enable accurate use of GPS positioning navigation within large indoor spaces. Xinjiekou metro station, once seen as a maze with its 20-plus exits, will no long be a tricky thing for travellers.
Away from the experience centre in Nanjing, for those who cannot wait to use 5G themselves, it won’t be cheap. It is necessary to change to a 5G mobile phone, although the phone number need not change. At present, the average price of 5G phones is over ¥10,000. The Huawei Mate 20X 5G is the most expensive so far, at ¥12,800 yuan, while the Xiao Mi Mix 35G is priced at ¥11,800 yuan.
However, Fu Liang, a telecommunications analyst, predicts “The price of 5G mobile phones will continue to decline; by next year, the price threshold may be less than ¥3,000”.