The three main Chinese telecommunication operators will launch 5G services on Friday.
This comes at a time when the country is seeking to expand its technology worldwide against a background of rivalry with the United States.
China Mobile, the world’s largest operator in terms of subscribers, said the fifth generation of mobile internet would be available as of Friday and would cover 50 cities across the country, including Beijing and Shanghai, with packages starting from 128 yuan per month (16.2 euros).
Its competitors China Telecom and China Unicom will also offer 5G services at comparable rates in the major Chinese cities.
5G internet, which is 100 times faster than existing 4G networks, will be able to transmit very large amounts of data much quicker. For example, downloading a complete movie will only take a few seconds.
The technology raises hopes for many new applications (connected gadgets, driverless cars, increased automation, telemedicine, etc.). But with it also comes security concerns.
In Belgium, Brussels Minister, Alain Maron, has said he does not want to rush the launch of the 5G network in Brussels.
“The 5G network cannot be established in Brussels, or Belgium, for as long as the Federal government is not putting up the 5G licences for sale,” said Maron. “And as long as the licences are not for sale, there is no rush.”
The Chinese company Huawei, considered the world leader in 5G equipment, is in turmoil since the Trump administration’s announcement in May for a prohibition for US companies to sell technology to the Chinese group, having suspicions it may be involved in potential spying.
Despite the accusations, the telecom giant said in October that it has signed about 60 contracts worldwide with various operators to deploy its 5G technology.
In rivalry with Washington, Beijing has accelerated the preparations for 5G in recent months by awarding its first licenses to operators in June. And since last year, 5G tests have been carried out in several Chinese cities.
Another Asian country, South Korea, announced in April it has implemented a total 5G coverage in the country.