A new 5G agreement will see China Mobile sharing network resources with China Broadcasting Network (CBN), granting the market leader access to the TV provider’s 700MHz spectrum.
The companies stated that they would jointly fund and deploy a network over the 700MHz frequency. This will enable China Mobile to improve its coverage using fewer base stations than with its 2.6GHz network – particularly in rural regions.
CBN will be able to access China Mobile’s 2.6GHz network and will also receive guidance and investment from the mobile operator. This will allow it to deploy its commercial 5G network more rapidly, significantly reducing its projected investment costs.
The cable TV operator received its 5G licence in June 2019, along with an 80MHz holding of 700MHz spectrum and 100MHz of 4.9GHz spectrum. It has lined up an investment of CNY250 million (US$35.2 million) to offer 5G services in 16 cities, including Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Shenzhen.
CBN will be able to pay to use China Mobile’s 2G, 3G and 4G infrastructure before the companies launch the 700MHz network. The broadcaster will pay China Mobile to run and maintain the joint network, as well as for providing backhaul links between its core network and the 5G base stations.
The Chinese government has encouraged 5G partnerships in order to boost efficiency – both in terms of cost and deployment. In October 2019, the second and third largest operators China Unicom and China Telecom announced that they would jointly deploy a 5G network.