China's 4th telecom operator China Broadnet comes online, connects to 5G
Published: Jun 27, 2022 11:55 AM Updated: Jun 27, 2022 11:53 AM
China Broadnet Photo: CFP
China Broadnet Photo: CFP

China's state-owned telecom operator China Broadnet launched its official website on Monday, announcing it has officially started 5G mobile phone services.

China Broadnet was granted a 5G commercial license by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on June 6, 2019, becoming the fourth 5G telecom operator in China, after China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom.

Compared with the other three major operators, the advantage of the new entrant is that it owns the 700 mHz band, which is also known as the "golden frequency spectrum," industry insiders said.  

The 700 mHz wireless network has the advantages of large coverage, strong signal penetration and relatively lower construction cost.

China Broadnet's national broadcaster background and its 700 mHz wireless network ensure that it can stand out from the four carriers in the country, Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Beijing-based Information Consumption Alliance, told the Global Times on Monday.

"However, China Broadnet doesn't have its own infrastructure - base stations. Thus, the newcomer had to make an agreement with China Mobile to share its mobile network," Xiang said. 

In 2019, China Mobile and China Broadnet confirmed they will build the 700 mHz wireless network nationwide, according to a Science and Technology Daily report. 

The two telecom operators agreed to initiate a 5G cooperation program in May 2020, and co-launched the 700 mHz wireless network construction in January 2021.

Xiang said that sharing mobile networks may cut for the end users.

"The operation mechanism of China Broadnet - sharing or renting telecom networks from other operators, was the model used by lots of 'virtual telecom carriers' in the country about five to six years ago, but most of them quit the market because the core business wasn't profitable and they lacked an official license," Xiang said.

According to China Broadnet's website, a 4G service subscriber will cost between 38 ($5.68) and 68 yuan a month, while a 5G service subscriber costs between 118 to 588 yuan a month. Prices are about the same as those charged by the other three telecom operators.

Xiang suggested China Broadnet will expand the telecom market in China but will not make too much impact due to its relatively small market share.

China Mobile's 5G users hit 401.27 million as of January, China Telecom had 196.06 million 5G users and China Unicom had 160 million, according to statistics from the three companies.

Global Times