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ZTE beats Huawei in race to release the first 5G phone in China

ZTE dropped the Axon 10 Pro 5G in China today, making it the first manufacturer to release a 5G phone in the country just weeks before Huawei is expected to unveil the Mate 20 X 5G. 

The Axon 10 Pro 5G was unveiled at MWC back in February and was released yesterday, according to reports from Xinhua. The device is the first 5G-enabled smartphone to hit the Chinese market  although, notably, the Axon 10 Pro won’t actually let people use 5G.

Read our hands on review of the ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G

This is because China doesn’t have a 5G network live yet, with China Mobile expected to launch the country’s first 5G network in October. Further plans have been put in place to reach over 50 cities by the end of the year and competing carriers, China Telecom and China Unicom, are expected to follow with their own 5G networks. By the time 5G lands in China, customers can anticipate multiple 5G handsets to choose from including options from both ZTE and Huawei.

The Axon 10 phone is set to connect to China’s first 5G network using a first generation Qualcomm X50 5G modem, giving ZTE users access to a stable web connection and super fast download speeds not found in existing 4G-enabled phones.

Several major Chinese smartphone manufacturers have actually already released 5G phones in other parts of the world – including in the UK – but the faster modems have yet to land in their own market due to the later rollout of 5G by Chinese carriers.

Related: Best 5G Phones: All the 5G phones currently available or coming soon

The Axon 10 Pro 5G comes with a 6.47-inch 1080p AMOLED display, three cameras and an in-screen fingerprint scanner. It is not yet clear what the phone will retail for if it sees a UK release but the handset is currently priced at 4,999 yuan in China.

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