China’s three mobile operators signed up 9 million advance orders for 5G services during September, according to Beijing News.
The report stated that China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom would probably launch commercial 5G services simultaneously later this month.
China Mobile has attracted approximately 5.32 million advance orders for 5G, followed by China Telecom and China Unicom with 1.75 million each, according to the report.
Monthly prices for these telco’s 5G plans start at around CNY 200 ($28), but, in response to complaints that even this was too expensive, the carriers have introduced a discount price of CNY140 to CNY160 for the first six months.
According to Chinese press reports, these three operators plan to deploy a total of 130,000 5G base stations across in China by the end of the year. However, government officials in certain cities are providing incentives for operators to accelerate 5G deployment plans.
The Shenzhen city government is offering to pay operators CNY10,000 ($1,398) for every standalone 5G base station deployed, with a maximum payout of CNY150 million ($20.9 million).
Beijing News reports an expected 10,000 new 5G base stations to be deployed in the capital, Beijing, by the end of the year. The three telcos have already deployed 8,800 5G base stations in Beijing.
Operators are also expected to deploy approximately 10,000 5G base stations in Shanghai by end-year, while total base stations in that city are anticipated to reach 20,000 by the end of next year. Guangzhou plans to have at least 20,000 5G base stations this year, while plans call for the deployment of 15,000 base stations in Shenzhen by end-2019.
Last month, China Telecom and China Unicom inked an agreement to cooperatively build a 5G mobile network, with the main aim of reducing costs, international press reported.
Under the “co-build, co-share” deal, the carriers will work together to outline districts in 15 cities for the network construction, with their respective total scale of 4G base stations in mind.
In Beijing, Tianjin, Zhengzhou, Qingdao and Shijiazhuang, the ratio of construction districts handled by China Unicom to China Telecom will be 6:4, while that ratio will be reversed in the 10 southern cities, including Shanghai, the companies said.
The two telcos had also said they were open to include China’s largest telco, China Mobile, in the initiative to deploy shared 5G infrastructure in low population-density areas.
China Telecom said earlier this year it planned to invest CNY 9 billion ($1.26 billion) and build 40,000 5G base stations by the end of the year, in line with China Unicom’s plans. China Mobile said it would deploy 50,000 bases stations and invest CNY 24 billion this year.
China Tower, the telecom tower company jointly owned and shared by the three mobile operators, said earlier this month that it had received client demands to install 65,000 5G base stations so far, a number that it expects to rise to 100,000 by the end of 2019.
In June, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) officially issued licenses for the launch of commercial 5G networks in the country. Those 5G permits were granted to state-run carriers China Mobile, China Unicom, China Telecom and state-owned broadcaster China Broadcasting Network.