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China launches one of the world's largest 5G networks

By Lawrence Gash

China joins the US, South Korea and the UK in global technology race

Marking its place at the forefront in the race for technological innovation, China has launched one of the largest consumer 5G networks in the world.

China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom, all state-owned carriers, have revealed their 5G data plans.

5G is the fifth-generation of mobile internet connectivity. It promises data download and upload speeds almost 100 times faster than the current 4G as well as more stable connections and wider coverage.

Although the US, South Korea and the UK have all announced their next generation 5G networks already, China’s network is impressive for its sheer size. More than 130,000 base stations will be activated by the end of 2019 to support the 5G network.

The technology is now available to consumers in 50 Chinese cities, including Shanghai and Beijing. According to state media Xinhua, prices for monthly plans range from 128 yuan ($18; £14) to 599 yuan.

This latest development comes in the wider context of the US-China trade war, which has seen Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies blacklisted by Washington for posing a national security risk.

Huawei is one of the leading developers of 5G. While Australia has joined the US in refusing it any role in the rollout of the technology, other Western nations such as Germany and Norway look set to welcome it.

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