BEIJING, June 6 (Xinhua) -- With the first batch of 5G licenses for commercial use granted Thursday, China has formally unveiled a new era for the telecom industry.
In some Chinese cities and provinces, however, pilot 5G applications have already started in advance, as the country's top telecom operators including China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom hope to try out with new application scenarios and tap market potentials.
The following are the cities and provinces moving fast with 5G applications.
On May 17, Beijing's subway Line 16 has achieved full 5G signal coverage. The other three lines operated by Beijing MTR -- Line 4, Daxing Line and Line 14 -- will gradually achieve full 5G coverage in the future, according to the Beijing MTR.
By 2022, Beijing will spend more than 30 billion yuan (around 4.4 billion U.S. dollars) on building a 5G network in the city, according to a 5G development plan released in January.
On May 16, north China's Tianjin Municipality has completed the country's first inspection of electric power lines using drones and the 5G wireless network, whose future application could exempt workers from the dangerous job.
On May 19, local telecom companies in Tianjin said the city had built over 300 5G base stations. In addition, China Mobile has opened a 5G innovation laboratory, launched over 20 5G application demonstration projects, and worked to establish a 5G industrial digital alliance to promote industrial cooperation and development in the city.
Since February 2018, central China's Hubei Province has built more than 300 5G base stations and achieved full 5G signal coverage in its prefecture-level cities, according to China Mobile's Hubei branch. A dozen 5G experience centers have been established in cities including Xiaogan, Yichang and Jingmen.
In February, China's telecommunication and expressway operators agreed to launch the country's first 5G-based smart highway project in the province.
On May 14, the first 5G smart street-lamp was built in Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei Province, which hosts a radio base station and a number of 5G smart functions.
On May 17, a Chinese museum in Wuhan became the first in the country to offer full 5G coverage and multiple related services including real-time viewing of a 2,400-year-old bronze chime.
The technological powerhouse Shenzhen in southern China's Guangdong Province is expected to build about 7,000 5G base stations this year, according to the city's bureau of industry and information technology.
In April, surgeons in the city of Gaozhou in Guangdong successfully conducted cardiac surgery with help from experts 400 km away who monitored the process with a VR model of the patient's heart on a live feed via a 5G network.
On May 20, Shenzhen piloted the use of the 5G wireless network to transmit a huge volume of data from the subway train to the station.
In 2019, more than 10,000 5G base stations will be built in Shanghai to achieve deep coverage of 5G networks, and by 2021, China Unicom will invest 15 billion yuan in the city to further promote the deployment and innovative applications of the 5G network.
On March 30, a 5G network in Shanghai's Hongkou District, backed by China Mobile, started trial runs.
A total of 228 5G base stations have been deployed in Hongkou, making it the first district in Shanghai fully covered by a 5G network and a gigabit broadband network.
Other cities, including Qingdao, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Guiyang, Chengdu, Fuzhou, Zhengzhou and Shenyang, all piloted 5G networks by China's telecom operators.
Trials on 5G technology have been widely conducted in traditional and emerging industries of communication, medicare, education, autonomous driving and VR. Enditem