The state-backed operator is an amalgamation of local cable broadcast and television operators, and was awarded a 5G licence in June 2019.
The company rebranded as China Broadnet earlier this month, having previously used the China Broadcasting Network Corporation (CBN) moniker as well as China Radio and TV, at the same time as it began pre-registration for phone numbers.
With the launch of its 5G service, China Broadnet was cited as saying that it would: “speed up the development of a new-type radio and TV communication network, a national cultural network, and a national, new-type infrastructure network.”
As noted by TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, China Broadnet’s 5G network has been rolled out through a partnership with China Mobile. Under the deal, China Mobile would deploy, operate and maintain the 700 MHz 5G network, but the two providers would share use of the system. In addition, China Broadnet was given temporary wholesale access to China Mobile’s 4G and 2600-MHz 5G networks.
China Broadnet’s 5G launch comes at a time when the country’s other three mobile operators already have a massive head start. The most recent available figures indicate that China Mobile has over 495 million customers signed to a 5G plan, while China Telecom has 224.5 million such users. (China Unicom doesn’t break down its public mobile user base by technology, but with 795.5 million fixed and mobile customers at the end of May, its 5G user base is likely to be fairly well established.)
That said, China Broadnet hasn’t been positioning itself as a direct competitor to the existing trio of providers. Rather, the operator aims to establish itself as a 5G-based converged media communications network, using the system to develop immersive and interactive broadcast and TV media services – such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) – alongside mobile communications.