Operator unveils commercial 5G brand; reportedly brings forward commercial launch to May

China Unicom on Tuesday revealed it has expanded the footprint of its 5G test network to 40 cities.

C114 reported that the network covers the main areas of seven locations – Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Nanjing, Hangzhou and Xiong’an – and ‘hotspot’ areas of a further 33.

The announcement was made at Unicom’s partner conference in Shanghai, during which the telco’s CEO Wang Xiaochu unveiled the 5Gn brand, under which it will offer commercial 5G services.

In addition, a separate report from the event by Venturebeat claimed that Unicom has moved its 5G launch plan forward to next month, which will enable it to pip rival state-owned operators China Mobile and China Telecom to claiming that ever-so-important 5G ‘first’.

China Unicom has previously said it expects to spend 6 billion-8 billion yuan (€797 million-€1.1 billion) on 5G this year.

Those in attendance at Unicom’s Shanghai event this week include Qualcomm and several of its OEM partners – including OnePlus, Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo, nubia, and ZTE – which have been showcasing launch devices for Unicom’s upcoming 5Gn service.

"Like previous generations, 5G is the result of more than a decade of collaborative efforts by Qualcomm Technologies and our ecosystem partners, with the mission of preparing the mobile industry for 5G rollout starting this year," said Qualcomm China chairman Frank Meng, in a statement. "We’re excited for Chinese consumers to experience 5G’s truly transformative wireless experience in 2019."