China's mobile operators have made 5G services available to consumers, as the country seeks to become a global technology leader.
State-owned carriers China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom unveiled their 5G data plans on Thursday. It comes as Beijing and Washington have been embroiled in a power struggle over trade and technology. South Korea, the US and the UK have all rolled out their next generation 5G networks this year. 5G is the fifth-generation of mobile internet connectivity. It promises much faster data download and upload speeds, wider coverage and more stable connections. The Chinese carriers had initially scheduled the launch for next year, but accelerated the rollout.
The superfast service is now available to consumers in 50 Chinese cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, with prices for monthly plans ranging from 128 yuan ($18; £14) to 599 yuan, according to state media Xinhua. More than 130,000 5G base stations will be activated by the end of the year to support the 5G network, the government said in the statement. This would make it one of the world's largest 5G deployments, it said.