Japan’s communications ministry on Tuesday gave major electronics maker Fujitsu Ltd. the country’s first preliminary license to build a local fifth-generation, or 5G, communications network.

It also plans to grant preliminary licenses to industry peer NEC Corp. and other firms, along with local governments.

The ministry started accepting local 5G license applications last December. Those given a preliminary license will introduce devices necessary for the operations and get a full license if the devices are confirmed to work without problems.

Unlike full-scale 5G services to be offered by mobile phone carriers nationwide, local 5G networks are designed to work only on the premises of such entities as companies, hospitals and local governments.

The local networks are expected to help realize smart factories and telemedicine, in which doctors in urban areas remotely provide treatment to patients in the countryside.

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