But despite its ambitious plans for 5G, China had not been expected to launch commercial networks until next year, long after the US, South Korea and the UK.
5G is the next generation cellular technology with download speeds stated to be 10 to 100 times faster than the current 4G LTE networks.
The world's largest mobile operator by subscribers are going to offer 5G services in 50 cities, including all the major cities across the country, according to its press release.
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Beijing has been pushing for a quick rollout of the technology, and China's state economic planner said in January that developing a 5G network was one of its "investment priorities" this year. In addition to talking about new experience offered by 5G in cloud-based gaming and HD video, the operator also stressed 5G+Cloud+AI offers to industry customers, including industrial internet, smart cities, smart medical care, smart education, transport and logistics, and smart energy.
The superfast service is now available to consumers in 50 Chinese cities, including Beijing and Shanghai.
For instance, China Unicom prices the data plan which allows peak speed of 500Mbps at 199 yuan.
The launch of 5G by Chinese carriers is a step slow in comparison to local smartphone brands such as Huawei and Xiaomi, as they have already introduced several phone models over the past few months that can support 5G networks.
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With US and China locked in the ongoing trade war, this development is being seen as the latter's effort to gain technological supremacy in the 5G battleground.
Chen Zhaoxiong, vice-minister of industry and information technology, the nation's industry regulator, said China has been working hard to extend 5G network coverage.
Chinese telecoms officially launched their 5G services today.
Since four licences were awarded in June, over 80,000 5G base stations have been built, half of them belong to China Mobile.
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We've already seen 5G networks launch in the USA and Europe, and now China has officially joined the party as well.