China says it will ‘soon grant’ 5G licenses for commercial use

There’s a widely accepted method to interpret China’s official announcements: the shorter the news, the heavier it is. Today, in one concise sentence, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, China’s telecom regulator, announced that it will “soon grant 5G licenses for commercial use.”

That’s according to the Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily. TechCrunch reported four months ago that China planned to “fast-track” the commercial use of the next-gen networking technology at a time when Huawei, the champion of the country’s 5G development, faces mounting pressure in the west as the U.S. lobbies its allies not to use Huawei technologies.


The Chinese firm is selling a majority stake of its undersea cable division weeks after the Trump administration blocked it from doing businesses with American companies.

The Chinese firm manages to find allies in other parts of the world. Just last week, it launched a 5G lab in South Korea but decided to keep the event “low-key,” Reuters reported, notably because the Asian country is a security ally of the U.S.

The acceleration of 5G licensing in China will also be a potential boost to the domestic economy, as it will “drum up demand with upgraded technology experiences across devices, automotive and manufacturing leveraging 5G technology,” Neil Shah, research director at Counterpoint Research, told TechCrunch in a previous interview.

5G technologies are expected to generate 6.3 trillion yuan ($947 billion) worth of economic output and 8 million jobs for China by 2030, according to a white paper released by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology.