Chinaese telecoms are to begin offering 5G mobile services to the public on Friday next week, the Beijing News reported yesterday.

China Mobile Ltd (中國移動), the nation’s largest telecom, is to introduce the service in Beijing, the newspaper said, citing the general manager of its Beijing office.

The nation’s other two operators are to also roll out the service for customers on the same day, the paper said, citing sources it did not identify.

The introductions come about four months after China issued commercial 5G licenses to the nation’s three main telecoms and one broadcaster, setting the nation on course to be among the world’s first to introduce the technology for consumers.

China is poised to become the world’s largest 5G market by users, a position that could help it set global standards for such networks, and boost its drive to become a leader in technologies from robotics to autonomous driving and factory automation.

The three Chinese operators are planning combined capital expenditure of 302 billion yuan (US$42.72 billion) this year, including the costs to build 130,000 base stations.

China Mobile intends to provide commercial 5G services in 50 cities this year, with a goal of reaching 340 cities next year, chairman Yang Jie (楊杰) said earlier this month.

More than 10 million Chinese have made online bookings for 5G services, pending the release of package prices, according to the Web sites of China Mobile, China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd (中國聯通) and China Telecom Corp (中國電信).

China Unicom chief executive Wang Xiaochu (王曉初) in August said that the company’s 5G packages would be as cheap as 190 yuan a month.