China on Thursday officially kicked off commercial 5G mobile services nationwide, signaling its ambition to be at the forefront of next generation mobile connectivity and internet of things technologies that will power many data-intensive apps of the future.
Chen Zhaoxiong, vice chief of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, announced at a telecom event in Beijing that 130,000 5G cell towers will be operational across China by the end of this year, and big cities like Beijing will be fully covered by 5G networks.
China’s three main wireless carriers, China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom have all announced 5G service plans, with monthly prices as low as 128 yuan ($18).
China Mobile, the country’s largest carrier, said it will provide 5G services in more than 50 major cities across the country, and will expand to prefecture-level cities next year.
China had initially planned to launch 5G services in 2020, but decided to accelerate that time line as other countries scramble to launch service earlier. South Korea started 5G commercial operations in April, and some areas of the U.S. have also introduced the service.
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