China's top mobile operators to launch 5G messaging service

China's three major mobile operators unveiled a new 5G-enabled messaging service on Wednesday, which is likely to open a new era for social networking.  

The Chinese three major mobile operators – China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom – jointly released a white paper on 5G messaging services, aiming to upgrade traditional text messaging services and give users access to enhanced features including the sharing of high-resolution photos, files, locations and coupons.  

The new features will also allow companies to better interact with users and customize their services through multimedia contents, according to the operators. For instance, consumers don't have to download a variety of mobile apps and they could directly order train tickets and book flights by sending messages.  

Meanwhile, according to the white paper, an ecosystem will be built involving mobile operators, telecommunications equipment makers, platform providers, AI technology developers and mobile devices manufacturers.  

In addition, the 5G messaging services will also be available on a number of compatible devices including Huawei, ZTE, Xiaomi, Samsung and OPPO.  

Ma Jihua, a Bejiing-based tech industry analyst suggested that it would be amazing that all three major carriers are launching a business together, especially for the ecosystem that would be formed around China's growing 5G services.  

However, some netizens concern that the 5G messaging services could in other ways challenge the status of current social networking services like WeChat or Alipay.  

Compared with current instant messaging apps such as WeChat, which already has features that focused on multimedia communications among friends, the new 5G messaging enables interactive communication among weak ties, facilitating the better flow of commercial information, Huaxi Securities stated.  

5G messaging has been a common choice for global operators, which are actively using 5G technology to bring users multimedia information, said Dong Xin, deputy general manager of China Mobile. 

(Cover photo via VCG)