OnQ Blog

5G arrives in China

The faster-than-anticipated launch of 5G devices, networks and services in China attests to the scale and speed of 5G proliferation worldwide.

Apr 22, 2019

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

The commercialization of 5G devices and networks is quickly gaining momentum. At this stage, analysts expect the transition to 5G to be much faster than the move from 3G to 4G. The arrival of 5G, once considered impossible for a 2019 timeline, is now inevitable after Qualcomm Technologies worked with ecosystem leaders to accelerate 5G standardization by a year and commercialized the industry’s first 5G mobile platform – among many other milestones.

In a span of few weeks, we have witnessed 5G launches in the U.S., South Korea, announcement of an imminent deployment in Europe – and we are now observing the dawn of 5G in China.

Today, China Unicom, the second largest mobile operator in China, revealed plans to deliver 5G experiences to consumers. The announcement was made at the China Unicom partner event taking place in Shanghai this week, with participation from the phone manufacturers providing 5G devices in support for this rollout. 5G smartphones from Nubia, OnePlus, OPPO, Vivo, Xiaomi, and ZTE use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Mobile Platform with the Snapdragon X50 5G modem with integrated RF transceiver and Qualcomm Technologies’ RF Front-End solution.

Fast rollout driven by a flexible standard and large opportunity

The arrival of 5G in China is big news as it is occurring earlier than many anticipated, bringing 5G to the world’s largest mobile user base within 2019. While 4G services were launched in China several years after the first commercial 4G network went live elsewhere, with 5G, it all begins in year one.

China Unicom is taking advantage of 5G non-standalone (NSA) mode of operation, which allows 5G New Radio (5G NR) deployments to leverage existing LTE core network and base stations, while adding new 5G base stations. 5G NSA mode was introduced into 3GPP Rel-15 specifications to accelerate the commercialization of the next-generation technology. It allows mobile operators to take advantage of increased network capacity – thanks to the wider bandwidths in new bands, along with all the advanced radio techniques built into 5G – while relying on an anchor 4G network. For users, this means earlier access to 5G services.

Qualcomm Technologies fuels global 5G proliferation

Today, over 20 operators worldwide and over 30 devices are expected to launch 5G starting this year using Qualcomm 5G solutions. We are excited as we see all the key elements in the ecosystem coming together to push a global 5G rollout, bringing 5G to scale and volume faster than anticipated.


Qualcomm Snapdragon and Qualcomm 5G Solutions are products of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.


Engage with us on


Opinions expressed in the content posted here are the personal opinions of the original authors, and do not necessarily reflect those of Qualcomm Incorporated or its subsidiaries ("Qualcomm"). Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries. The content is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to be an endorsement or representation by Qualcomm or any other party. This site may also provide links or references to non-Qualcomm sites and resources. Qualcomm makes no representations, warranties, or other commitments whatsoever about any non-Qualcomm sites or third-party resources that may be referenced, accessible from, or linked to this site.

Durga Prasad Malladi

Senior Vice President & GM, 5G, Broadband & RAN, Qualcomm Technologies

©2022 Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its affiliated companies.

References to "Qualcomm" may mean Qualcomm Incorporated, or subsidiaries or business units within the Qualcomm corporate structure, as applicable.

Qualcomm Incorporated includes Qualcomm's licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of its patent portfolio. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, operates, along with its subsidiaries, substantially all of Qualcomm's engineering, research and development functions, and substantially all of its products and services businesses. Qualcomm products referenced on this page are products of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

Materials that are as of a specific date, including but not limited to press releases, presentations, blog posts and webcasts, may have been superseded by subsequent events or disclosures.

Nothing in these materials is an offer to sell any of the components or devices referenced herein.