China's big three state-run telecommunications companies, China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile, are preparing to build test networks and conduct experiments next year to achieve an objective to launch a national 5G network in 2020.

The total expense of a 5G network will be at least RMB300 billion (US$45 billion), which is what the 4G system cost, Chinese media report.

China Mobile has established a 5G development center in Qingdao to conduct 5G related technology research and 5G application testing in the Internet of Things and mobile health sectors. The company has also reached a partnership with Ericsson to study 5G network frameworks and drone applications.

China Telecom has cooperated with Huawei Technologies to conduct 5G network testing, in addition to teaming up with a number of provincial governments to conduct early stage development work for IoT.

China Unicom, on the other hand, has announced a partnership agreement with ZTE Corporation to jointly develop its own 5G network.

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has previously announced plans for the implementation of establishing a national 5G network. Basic research and development work will be done between 2016 to 2018, including key technology testing, 5G technology verification and 5G network solution verification.

The 5G network construction work will begin afterward, first covering major cities, with formal roll-out expected as early as 2020.

By 2020, developed markets including the U.S., Japan and Europe will have introduced their own commercial 5G networks.


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