Chinese tech giant Huawei, a frontrunner in 5G, has announced the date for the release of its first 5G smartphone in the Chinese market.
The much-anticipated Mate 20 X (5G), priced at 6,199 yuan (about 900 U.S. dollars), will be available to domestic consumers from August 16 and pre-orders will open from Friday.
Compared with its non-5G brother, the Mate 20 X (5G) has a slightly smaller battery, a little bit thicker body, a new greenish color and, of course, full support for 5G network.
It is powered by the Huawei Kirin 980 chipset and equipped with its in-house HiSilicon Balong 5000 5G modem, which makes it the first phone model that supports both standalone (SA) and non-standalone (NSA) 5G networks, the company said.
Non-standalone 5G networks are based on the existing 4G infrastructure, while standalone networks require newer infrastructure tailored for 5G Internet.
The telecom equipment giant also announced its 5G mobile router “5G CPE Pro” and its new AI smartphone “nova 5i Pro.”
A prototype of the Mate 20 X (5G) has already attracted world’s attention by being the first to use 5G connection to complete a livestream showduring the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Shanghai in June 2019.
Also, early 5G network adopters like South Korea and Switzerland have already enjoyed the phone for months.
In June, the model received the first license to access China’s 5G network. However, rival ZTE has taken a step ahead of Huawei by taking pre-orders from Tuesday for its 5G handset – the ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G, with slightly underwhelming hardware and a price of 4,999 yuan (about 727 U.S. dollars).
Both phones by ZTE and Huawei are cheaper than the expected price of more than 10,000 yuan (about 1,450 U.S. dollars).
Other major smartphone vendors including Xiaomi, Vivo, OPPO and Samsung have not confirmed the exact dates when their 5G handsets will hit the lucrative Chinese market, but they also expect to be the early birds.
According to a report by research company Canalys, China will take the lead in 5G smartphone shipments, making up 34 percent of the global shipments of 800 million units by 2023, a turning point when 5G smartphones are expected to outsell 4G ones.
Is China ready for 5G?
China has more than a billion people waiting for 5G smartphones. But the country is also large in land area, making it hard for mobile carriers to cover with 5G signals.
China Mobile, the country’s largest carrier by number of users, has planned to cover more than 40 cities across China by the end the September. The company has signed big contracts with suppliers, including Huawei, Ericsson, Nokia, ZTE and more to distribute 5G signal in these cities.
The early announcement of the 5G phones can be a hint that the carriers are trying to get the job done ahead of schedule.
(Zhu Longzhou contributed to the story.)