Get more with myNEWS
A personalised news feed of stories that matter to you
Learn more
Xiaomi, with a virtual carrier license based on the China Unicom network, is the only company currently manufacturing phones and offering its own 5G data packages. Photo: Shutterstock

Xiaomi rolls out exclusive, low-priced 5G data packages to boost smartphone sales

  • The Chinese smartphone vendor’s new 5G data packages are priced as low as 49 yuan (US$7) per month
  • It has a virtual carrier license based on the network of China Unicom, which has its own 5G packages starting at 129 yuan a month

Chinese smartphone vendor Xiaomi confirmed Wednesday to KrASIA that it has rolled out new 5G data packages in China, priced as low as 49 yuan (US$7) per month, in a move to boost 5G phone sales.

The plans, which will be exclusive for Xiaomi’s phone users at this time, signal the company’s determination to win the upcoming 5G phone race.

While there are dozens of virtual carriers (or subcarriers) in China, they are not a mainstream choice for phone users. However, Xiaomi, with a virtual carrier license based on the China Unicom network, is the only company currently manufacturing phones and offering its own 5G data packages.

The move allows Xiaomi to further attract costumers to buy new phones by leveraging low-cost 5G data deals.

Xiaomi’s new offering includes three different 5G data plans. The basic package priced at 49 yuan (which includes 20 GB of data and 50 minutes), a 69 yuan package (with 30 GB of data and 100 minutes) and a 99 yuan offer (with 40 GB of data and 200 minutes).

5G smartphone adoption rate expected to be 10 times that of 4G era

However, only those who buy the 5G Redmi K30 5G phone model on Xiaomi’s website, which starts at 1,999 yuan, will get a phone card to use these packages. Xiaomi told KrASIA that the company has not opened such services to users of 5G phones produced by other brands, and has not set a timetable to do so. As of now, this new 5G service is an exclusive benefit for Redmi K30 users, allowing them to experience 5G at low costs, Xiaomi stated.

China’s four state-owned carriers, including China Unicom, launched their commercial 5G networks at the end of October. China Unicom’s 5G packages start at 129 yuan per month, with 20 GB of data and 500 minutes.

Vendors have been expecting 5G to resuscitate phone sales in the country as 4G users replace their old devices. According to IDC’s Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker report, smartphone shipments in China stood at 98.9 million units in the third quarter of 2019, down 3.6 per cent year-on-year. Xiaomi shipped 9.7 million, down by 30.5 per cent year-on-year. This ranks Xiaomi as the fourth-largest vendor, with a market share of 9.8 per cent in that quarter.

The smartphone maker is known as a low-priced alternative to other brands. The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G costs more than US$1,000 and Huawei’s Mate 30 5G starts at around US$880, while Xiaomi’s Mi 9 Pro 5G is priced at about US$520, and the Mi MIX 3 5G starts from US$670.

Purchase the China AI Report 2020 brought to you by SCMP Research and enjoy a 20% discount (original price US$400). This 60-page all new intelligence report gives you first-hand insights and analysis into the latest industry developments and intelligence about China AI. Get exclusive access to our webinars for continuous learning, and interact with China AI executives in live Q&A. Offer valid until 31 March 2020.