China issued 5G commercial licenses to four top state-owned companies, marking the first step to adopt a technology that’s set to revolutionise the country’s digital economy.
As of now, South Korea is said to be the only country to have adopted the new technology on a large scale.
The ministry of industry and information technology (MIIT) handed out the licenses to three telecom giants – China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom – and China Broadcasting Networking Corporation, the largest cable company in the country.
“The high-speed 5G technology is expected to revolutionise the tech world as it will be able to transmit data at least 10 times faster than the 4G system,” Chinese state media reported.
The China Academy of Information and Communications Technology says the new technology is expected to generate 10.6 trillion yuan (about $ 1.54 trillion) worth of economic output and over 3 million jobs between 2020 and 2025.
Miao Wei, MIIT minister, was quoted by state media as saying that China welcomes foreign companies to actively participate in the construction of China’s 5G market and share benefits generated by technological progress.
“The 5G licensing will be a significant boost for the domestic economy, as it will drive the transformation and upgrading of the real economy, promote the 5G application in various fields including manufacturing and agriculture and boost digital economic growth,” state-controlled China Daily newspaper quoted Wang Zhiqin, head of the IMT2020 (5G) Promotion Group, a team established by the ministry to accelerate the development of 5G in China, as saying.
“Issuing a license for China Broadcasting Network Corp, a new 5G carrier will help build a next-generation communication network,” Wang said, adding: “Granting four 5G licenses is conducive to fostering rational competition and investment in the market.”
Telecom equipment maker Huawei Technologies – under severe scrutiny in the US for security reasons – said in a statement on Thursday it is ready to help China accelerate the commercial use of 5G.
“Huawei’s global pioneering capabilities to offer 5G solutions can support Chinese telecom carriers build a sound network. China will lead the world in commercialising superfast wireless technology,” the company said.
ZTE Corp, another Chinese telecom company, said its products are ready for commercial use and it will actively participate in the commercial deployment and construction of 5G networks in China.
“China is set to become the world’s largest 5G market by 2025, with 460 million users,” according to a forecast by the Global System for Mobile Communications Association, an industry group.