China smart phone giant ZTE has become the first phone manufacturer to release a 5G handset with the launch of the Axon 10 Pro 5G today, reports state-run news agency Xinhau. Announced back at MWC in February, the Axon 10 5G comes equipped with a 6.47-inch 1080p AMOLED display, and will use one of Qualcomm’s first generation X50 5G modems to connect to China’s upcoming 5G wireless network.
Although Chinese customers can get their hands on a 5G device starting today, they won’t have access to a 5G network to run it on until around October, when TechCrunch notes that China Mobile is expected to commercially launch its 5G services for the first time. China Mobile hopes to have 5G networks available in more than 50 cities in the country by the end of the year. Two other Chinese wireless carriers, China Telecom and China Unicom, have also been granted licenses to operate commercial 5G networks of their own.
The release means that ZTE has beaten Chinese smartphone rival Huawei to be the first to release a 5G handset in its home country. Huawei is not expected to release its debut 5G handset, the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G, until August 16th in China, despite the phone having come to other countries, such as the UK, late last month. Alongside Huawei, Chinese manufacturers OnePlus and Oppo both already have 5G devices available in other territories, namely the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G and the Oppo Reno 5G.