China Unicom recently said in a press conference its 5G data packages will cost a minimum of 190 yuan ($28.3), Beijing Daily reported on Tuesday. Wang Xiaochu, chairman of China Unicom, revealed that lowest cost of the company’s 5G packages in the first stage of 5G network application.
Although China Mobile and China Telecom have yet to release specific fees of their 5G plans, industry insiders believe the plans will be about the same.
To date, China’s three major telecom operators – China Unicom, China Mobile and China Telecom – have launched their 5G trial packages. 5G phone users can apply for them free of charge, and get 100-gigabytes of free 5G data in August and September, respectively. The revelation of the 5G package plans sparked controversy online – many people said they could not afford to use the 5G network.
But according to a telecom industry report by telworld.com.cn, China Unicom’s 5G package plan is currently the cheapest one in the world – it is more than 40 percent cheaper than the minimum 5G package cost in South Korea, and costs over 60 percent less than the cheapest 5G plan in the US.
In fact, the minimum cost of South Korea‘s 5G data packages amounts to about 325 yuan per month, while US telecom operator AT&T charges users $70 for 15-gigabytes of 5G data every 30 days.
In addition, due to the lack of 5G network devices at present, US consumers need to purchase their own 5G hot spot devices, which cost $499 each. Previously, China Mobile also said the first batch of 5G mobile phones will cost about 8,000 yuan.
Fu Liang, an independent telecom industry analyst, said telecom operators usually adapt their marketing strategies according the development of the network infrastructure. He said he believes that in the initial stage of 5G network application, operators set higher price points to ensure a gradual shift from extensive use of the 4G network to the 5G network, and to provide a smooth experience for China’s first 5G users.
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“Back when 4G network was first used, China Unicom launched plans that cost as much as 198 and 398 yuan per month.” he said.
At the same time, telecom operators in China plan to release more package options for users in the future.
“We aim to launch more low-end 5G packages in the future, and adjust the package prices based on the needs of individual users,” Wang Xiaochu said.