5G smartphones start hitting shelves
Global Times


China's ZTE presents its Axon 10 Pro 5G cellphone at Mobile World Congress (MWC 2019) in Barcelona, Spain, Feb. 26, 2019. (Photo: Xinhua)

Chinese telecom giant ZTE on Tuesday announced pre-sales of its Axon 10 Pro 5G smartphone, priced at 4,999 yuan ($726), making it the first 5G handset to officially hit stores in China.

Consumers will see 5G phones collectively hitting the shelves during the rest of this year, analysts said, and the new smartphone era has started, with China playing a leading role.

Starting from 10 am (Beijing time) on Tuesday, the pre-order portal of ZTE's Axon 10 Pro 5G handset launched simultaneously on Alibaba's Tmall, JD.com and ZTE's official online store.

Global Times reporters found that 20 orders were placed within three seconds on JD.com.

Shares of ZTE rose 2.68 percent on Tuesday to HK$22.95 ($2.94).

"The promotion of 5G smartphones is speeding up," Ma Jihua, a telecom analyst with Beijing Daojing Consultant Co, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

China has developed a relatively mature 5G ecosystem, and mobile phone producers have made full preparations by working together with telecom operators and other ancillary suppliers, Ma said.

As the global 5G flagship, the ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G has been announced  in China, Germany, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and other markets. It's already on sale in Finland and the UAE, making it the first commercial 5G mobile phone available in Northern Europe and the Middle East, according to ZTE's website.

There are 45 locations in China where consumers can experience the attractions of 5G mobile phones, said a statement sent to the Global Times by ZTE on Tuesday.

As one of the few global smartphone producers with 5G end-to-end solutions, ZTE has gained a global leading edge in 5G standards formulation, 5G core technology, 5G scale and other aspects, read the statement.

"There are more than a dozen 5G phones planning to hit the shelves in China," Wen Ku, spokesperson of China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Huawei's first 5G phone, the Mate 20 X, is expected to be put on sale on Friday, a source close to the company confirmed with the Global Times.

The first foldable 5G mobile phone of Huawei, the Mate X, will reportedly be available sometime next month, although this has not been confirmed by Huawei.

Different levels of 5G phones with corresponding prices will enter the market, and ZTE's Axon 10 Pro 5G will be a primary version that enables more customers to experience the technology in the near term, Ma said.

"Since the price is much lower than I expected, I would love to be the first group to try the cutting-edge technology," Li Wenwen, a customer from Beijing, told the Global Times on Tuesday.