BEIJING – The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced on Thursday that it has granted licenses for the commercial use of 5G networks to China Telecom, China Mobile, China Unicom and China Broadcasting Network.
The ministry said in a statement that the measure marks a new era in the Chinese telecommunications industry and, although for the time being it has only licensed four local companies, it “welcomes enterprises at home and abroad to actively participate in the building, application and promotion of its 5G network,” reported official news agency Xinhua.
“The 5G technology will establish a high-speed, mobile, safe and widespread new-generation information infrastructure,” said Minister of Industry and Information Technology Miao Wei during a presentation in Beijing.
He added that “the 5G technology is expected to bring new opportunities and buoy the growth of China’s digital economy. It will accelerate the digital transformation of many industries and will be more intensively used in sectors such as Industrial Internet and Internet of Vehicle.”
The technology will help generate about 10.6 trillion yuan (about $1.54 trillion) in economic value and more than 3 million jobs between 2020-2025, according to a report by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology cited by the ministry.
The 5G network is expected to exchange information and data at a much higher speed than the current 4G network and can be used, for example, in the development of the Internet of Things.
Last year, Washington banned federal agencies from buying Huawei’s 5G equipment, citing concerns that the company was developing technology that could be used to spy on behalf of Beijing.
Huawei recently filed a legal motion demanding the ban be lifted.