Chinese indoor licences to boost 5G infrastructure sharing

Chinese indoor licences to boost 5G infrastructure sharing

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology’s (MIIT) has granted China Telecom, China Unicom and China Broadcasting Network licences that will enable them to deliver indoor coverage via the 3.3GHz to 3.4GHz band.

By allowing multiple firms to offer services over these public frequencies, the MIIT aims to incentivise providers to build 5G infrastructure jointly and then share it. China Telecom and China Unicom formed such an agreement for 5G RANs in September 2019, allowing them to reduce expenditure and roll out 5G more quickly.

China Broadcasting Network (CBN) joined the country’s Big Three operators in receiving a commercial 5G licence when the government issued them in June last year.  The broadcaster has pledged an investment of CNY250 million ($35.8 million) into a 5G network covering 16 cities.

While both China Telecom and China Unicom were granted 100MHz of 3.5GHz spectrum, the country’s largest operator China Mobile received substantially more - 260MHz across the 2.6GHz and 4.9GHz bands. The government is looking to redress this imbalance by issuing spectrum in the 3.3GHz to 3.4GHz band.