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China grants commercial licences to 4 telecom companies to launch 5G services amid tensions with US

Friday, June 07, 2019

Beijing: China yesterday granted commercial licences to four state-owned telecom giants to start rolling out 5G services, signalling Beijing's determination to be the global leader in setting up superfast wireless networks amid tensions with the US over technology and trade.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) issued 5G commercial licenses to China Telecom, China Mobile, China Unicom and China Radio and Television.

5G is the next generation cellular technology with download speeds stated to be 10 to 100 times faster than the current 4G LTE networks. Apart from much faster data download and upload speeds, 5G technology promises wider coverage and more stable connections.

Chinese officials say a comprehensive deployment of the network will help develop industrial manufacturing, internet-connected cars, healthcare, smart city management and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The 5G technology will establish a high-speed, mobile, safe and widespread new-generation information infrastructure, MIIT Minister Miao Wei said at the licence presentation ceremony.

Asked whether China's move is linked to its trade war with the US and aimed at helping Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a media briefing here that foreign companies are also welcome to participate in the 5G development.

"I believe that China is taking concrete action to contribute to multilateralism and free trade in a system that is under attack by raising unilateralism and protectionism," Geng said.

Minister Miao said the 5G technology is expected to bring new opportunities and buoy the growth of China's digital economy.

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