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China will become one of the few countries globally to launch 5G commercial services this year – ahead of its original 2020 timeline. The massive market is accelerating the growth of its 5G industry.


  • China Mobile has announced that it will launch 5G in over 40 cities by September, and over 50 cities by end-2019. China Telecom will expand its 5G network coverage to 40 cities this year, while China Unicom has confirmed a launch of 5G trial networks in 40 cities.
  • The operators in China see standalone (SA) network architecture as the target for 5G. A SA/nonstandalone hybrid network will be implemented in 2019, but China Telecom and China Mobile have indicated the upgrade to SA mode will start in 2020.
  • 5G smartphones have just appeared in China, with the launch of the ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G and Huawei Mate20 X 5G. In the 5G era, plenty of new devices are expected to emerge besides smartphones, as the operators are investing in 5G device development for both consumer and enterprise solutions.

Features and Benefits

  • Summarizes 5G deployment plans of Chinese operators.
  • Discusses the latest devices announced for 5G.
  • Provides an outlook on the future of 5G developments in China.

Key questions answered

  • What are the 5G network deployment strategies of Chinese operators?
  • What is the early application scenario of 5G in China?
  • Which vertical industries have been identified as a focus of Chinese operators?

Table of contents


  • In brief
  • Ovum view
  • Recommendations

Market status

  • China has accelerated 5G development
  • Development status of 5G by service provider

Market dynamics

  • The global standard is 3.5GHz spectrum, but China Mobile is also promoting 2.6GHz industry maturity
  • The transition to SA is expected to start from 2020
  • Maturity of the 5G device ecosystem is vital
  • Diversified 5G pricing
  • Applications are the key drivers

Market outlook

  • The spread of 5G in China will be a gradual process
  • The real 5G revolution has yet to come


  • Methodology
  • Further reading
  • Author