China aims to be the leading country in 5G as they have pre-registered about 10 million users nationwide. The three major telcos – China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom have started signing up 5G customers since September. The pre-registration figures already surpass South Korea‘s 5G subscriber numbers which are reported to have crossed the 3 million mark in September.
China Mobile is said to have registered over 5.6 million 5G subscribers while China Unicom and China Telecom had acquired approximately 2 million subscribers each.
To entice more subscribers to adopt 5G, telcos have been dishing out incentives to its customers. The big three telcos are reported to offer 30% discount for loyal customers that have been on their network for 3-5 years and a 20% discount for those with shorter tenures.
The operators have received their 5G licences from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in early June and are expected to roll out commercial services by end of October. China Mobile aims to double its current nationwide 5G base stations to 50,000 by end of this year, while China Telecom and China Unicom will jointly build and maintain 5G radio access networks nationwide with 40,000 sites across 40-50 cities by end of this year.
Apart from telcos, major cities have also taken the initiative to speed up 5G rollout. In China, major cities such as Shenzhen are providing CNY 10,000 (about RM5,873) subsidy for each base station deployed with a maximum limit of CNY 150 million (about RM88 million) per operator. There are also additional incentives for 5G development with the aim to offer the best urban coverage. Shenzhen city targets to have 45,000 base stations by August 2020.
Shanghai aims to cover the entire downtown and main suburban areas with 10,000 compatible base stations by end-2019 and blanket coverage in 2020. For Guangzhou, they are targetting full coverage with 65,000 base stations by 2021.