What happened: China Telecom has launched west China’s first International Telecommunication Union (ITU) standard 5G network in Chengdu, Sichuan. This is reportedly the first time that a multiple base transceiver system (BTS) has been employed in the region. Previously, 5G experiments were conducted in-network, on a singular BTS.
Why it’s important: The new network is representative of China’s ambitions to become a pioneer in the development and deployment of 5G technology, which it hopes to commercialize by 2020. However, most consumers will likely not use the new network until 2021 and beyond. Nonetheless, the country’s private companies are also pushing the development of the technology. Huawei, which recently had its base stations approved for sale in the EU, plans to increase its research and development (R&D) spending to between $15 billion and $20 billion annually.