China has approved four operating licenses for 5G networks amid tensions with the U.S. over technology and trade.
The country’s three state-owned wireless carriers -- China Mobile Ltd., China Telecom Corp. and China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd., -- and China Broadcasting Network Corp. were granted licences for full commercial deployment, according to state broadcaster CCTV.
China has almost 1.6 billion wireless phone subscriptions and the new 5G networks are expected to boost local companies designing gear for applications in autonomous driving, robotics, remote surveillance and virtual reality.
Chinese Minister of Industry and Information Technology Miao Wei said on Thursday that the country welcomes foreign enterprises to its 5G market.
Xiaomi Corp. in March said it would introduce China’s first 5G phone in May or June. Huawei and ZTE, have also said they intend to offer handsets compatible with the technology this year.