• Naomi Head

Deals on 5G phones this Sunday. Are 5G handsets worth buying?

Originally posted on August 16 2019 for Time Out Beijing

The 5G network is expanding, is it time to invest in a new phone?

Photo credit: Flickr

Several big Chinese electronic brands, Huawei, Vivo and ZTE, are fiercely competing over the 5G market. And one major battle is happening on China e-commerce platform Suning's annual shopping extravaganza this Sunday 18 with major discounts for these companies' first 5G phones.

If you're wondering whether or not it’s worth investing in a new 5G handset, here's some background info what you should know about the network.

Since the start of 2019, Beijing has been investing heavily in the development of the 5G network. Just this year in May, the government put together a five billion yuan fund dedicated to the 5G mobile tech industry.

When this was announced on May, 4,700 5G base stations have been already been built in Beijing, according to China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom. This is a network that covers the area within the Fifth Ring Road. Since then, an additional 2,000 additional base stations have been constructed, meaning using Alipay just got a whole lot easier.

Next, the capital reportedly plans to establish 5G services in key areas like the CBD and the Second Ring Road by 2021, and invest a further 30 billion yuan by 2022.

Photo: Pixabay

Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3...

Unfortunately, the network is currently pre-commercial and primarily accessible in administrative areas, including the new Beijing Daxing International Airport and the International Horticultural Exhibition.

Photo: N509FZ/Wikimedia Commons

If you’re still skeptical after enduring years of clunky Chinese internet, let us reassure you: during testing on the Line 16 metro, China Mobile measured download speeds of 933 mbps and upload speeds of 87 mbps, which compared with 4G speeds, is about the speed of light. If you don’t feel like making the pilgrimage to Line 16 just to stream your videos, don’t despair: there're plans to expand the 5G network to the Daxing Line, Line 4 and Line 14.

Looking to the future

Further afield, other Chinese cities, Changchun and Chengdu, each boast one 5G metro station. And the plans to connect the country don’t stop there, as airports and railway stations are being added into the 5G revolution, meaning wherever you go in China, you won’t have to be without ligtning internet speeds for long.

Is it worth having a 5G phone yet?

We’re not one hundred percent sure, but with the rapid development of China’s 5G network, as well as exclusive deals at www.suning.com come this Sunday 18, we don’t see what harm it could do investing in a new device.

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