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China to issue 5G licenses soon

06 June 2019

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said it “will issue 5G commercial licenses in the near future,” according to state-run Xinhua News Agency.

The fact that China, one of the largest electronics markets in the world, is involved in 5G is not surprising. Yet, while other countries have already gone live with 5G networks, China has not yet issued licenses for the technology.

The push for 5G follows pressure put on Chinese communications equipment vendor Huawei after the U.S. put the company on a blacklist, making it difficult for other tech companies to do business with the company. The U.S., Australia and New Zealand have all vowed not to use 5G equipment from Huawei, fearing the Chinese government might leverage the technology for surveillance.

While countries in Europe have not ruled out the possibility of using Huawei, the Chinese government will more than likely use the telecom and smartphone giant for its networks. However, it is unclear if other countries in Asia or other regions will use the company.

While the generic statement from the MIIT doesn’t detail the time frame, it is safe to assume this means the agency will be delivering licenses soon.

Meanwhile, as Huawei struggles to find buyers in other countries, Finland-based Nokia is touting its gains in the 5G market, having made 42 commercial deals around the world including with T-Mobile, Telia Company and Softbank. These agreements include trials and demos that total more than 100 5G customer engagements to date, Nokia said.

In other 5G news, networking giant NEC will work with Rakuten Mobile to develop a 3.7 GHz massive MIMO 5G antenna radio unit for Rakuten’s virtualized, end-to-end cloud mobile network. NEC will be the 5G network equipment provider while Rakuten recently received approval from the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications for its 5G radio station deployment plan. Rakuten plans to launch 5G services in June 2020.

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