China just switched on the world’s largest 5G network.
The country’s three state-run telecom operators launched services for the next generation wireless technology on Friday.
China Mobile (CHL), China Telecom (CHA) and China Unicom (CHU) are all offering 5G plans that start at 128 yuan ($18) for 30 GB of data per month, giving Chinese internet users access to the ultra fast service.
5G commercial services are now available in 50 cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, according to Chinese state news agency Xinhua. In Shanghai, nearly 12,000 5G base stations have been activated to support 5G coverage across the city’s key outdoor areas.
Other countries including the United States and South Korea launched 5G services in select areas earlier this year. But China’s commercial network is the biggest, according to Bernstein Research, giving the county more influence over the technology’s global evolution.
“The scale of its network and the price of its 5G services will have a pivotal impact throughout the supply chain,” Bernstein analyst Chris Lane said in a research note earlier this week.
China has more mobile internet users than any other country, with about 850 million people using their smartphones to surf the internet, according to Xinhua.
Analysts at Jefferies predict that China will have 110 million 5G users — about 7% of the country’s population — by 2020. South Korea launched its 5G network in April, and roughly 3% of the country’s internet users subscribe to it, according to Jefferies.