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China turned on its 5G networks ahead of schedule on Friday, as the country looks to push ahead with the next-generation technology amid its protracted trade war with the U.S. 5G promises super-fast data speeds that have the ability to support technologies like driverless cars.
China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile all unveiled 5G plans that start at around 128 yuan or $18 per month, but experts warned that the price could still be too high to drive wide-scale adoption. The services offered by the state-owned carriers are all similar and go up to around 599 yuan per month for 300 gigabytes of data and 3,000 minutes of calls.
Initially, Chinese carriers were looking to begin the 5G rollout in 2020, but the time frame moved forward. China and the U.S. are locked in an ongoing trade war that has also turned into a battle over technological supremacy. The 5G space is one of the key battlegrounds and has become a politically charged topic. President Donald Trump said earlier this year that “the race to 5G is on and America must win.”