China Mobile and CBN agree 5G network sharing terms

China Mobile and CBN agree 5G network sharing terms

China Mobile has finalised the terms of its 11-year network sharing and build-out agreement with China Broadcasting Network (CBN).

Both firms were awarded 5G licences in 2019, with CBN receiving 80MHz of 700MHz spectrum and 100MHz of 4.9GHz spectrum, while China Mobile’s was awarded 260MHz across the 2.6GHz and 4.9GHZ bands.

The two firms signed a series of “specific collaboration agreements” in May 2020 that will see the companies construct and share infrastructure, allowing China Mobile to use CBN’s 700MHz spectrum for 5G services, while CBN would be able to launch its offering swiftly using China Mobile’s networks.

China Mobile noted that in addition to network construction and maintenance, the companies have signed agreements covering market collaboration as well as usage fees.

The deal will be implemented in two phases, with the first seeing CBN pay China Mobile for wholesale access to its 2G, 4G and 5G networks for the duration of 2021. The second phase covers the following 10 years to 31st December 2031.

The two firms will jointly build out a wide-scale 700MHz network, over which they will have equal ownership, and into which they will be required to invest equally for upgrade, renovations and capacity expansion. However, China Mobile will provide all maintenance and network operation, with CBN paying fees to cover this.

CommsUpdate notes that the 700MHz network will be connected to both operators’ core networks, with the partners sharing it to deliver services to their respective customers, although each will be responsible for their own core network maintenance. Once the network has achieved large-scale commercialisation, CBN will no longer use China Mobile’s 2G and 4G networks.

Across the first five years of phase two, CBN will be required to pay China Mobile access fees for the 700MHz network as well as the market leader’s 2.6GHz network, with the rate agreed between the two firms. In 2026, the companies will renegotiate the settlement fees for the next five years.

The market collaboration agreement allows the operators to cooperate in areas such as developing new products and operations, but their businesses and branding must remain separate.

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