Alibaba injects funds in China Broadcasting Network for 5G rollout

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China Broadcasting Network Corp (CBN), a cable TV operator and a new entrant in China’s telecom sector, has received investments of more than CNY100 billion ($14.5 billion) from 47 companies, including 11 new investors, Chinese press reported.

With the addition of these new Chinese investors, CBN now has a total of 47 shareholders.

The operator said it will use these fresh funds to accelerate the deployment of its 5G network.

The e-commerce giant Alibaba committed CNY10 billion for a 9.88% stake in CBN, an investment level matched by China’s national electricity company State Grid.

CBN parent China Radio and Television Network has invested CNY51.6 billion for a 51% stake in CBN.

Other investors include China’s provincial broadcasting networks.

CBN received a 5G license in June 2019, with spectrum holdings of 80 megahertz in the 700 MHz band and 100 megahertzin the 4.9 GHz band.

CBN had committed to invest CNY250 million to launch services in 16 cities across China. In May 2020, CBN announced plans to deploy a nationwide 700 MHz 5G network in cooperation with China Mobile.

That agreement will enable China Mobile to improve its coverage using fewer base stations than with its 2.6 GHz network, particularly in rural regions across China.

Under the terms of the agreement, CBN will have access to China Mobile’s 2.6 GHz network and will also receive guidance and investment from the mobile operator. This will allow CBN to deploy its commercial 5G network more rapidly, significantly reducing its projected investment costs.

Earlier this month, China Broadcasting Network and Qualcomm announced that the two companies successfully achieved what they claim is the world’s first large-bandwidth 2×30-megahertz 5G data call demonstration in the 700 MHz (Band n28) FDD spectrum band.

This demonstration was operated in compliance with the 2×30-megahertz technical specifications of CBN’s 700 MHz FDD band and utilized a 5G smartphone form factor mobile test device powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System.

Qualcomm said that this demonstration achieved download speeds of more than 300 Mbps and paves the way for CBN to accelerate commercial 5G rollouts across China.

In March 2020, CBN’s technical proposal of large-bandwidth 700 MHz 2×30-megzhertz has been adopted by 3GPP and enlisted in global 5G standards, making it the world’s first global 5G standard for large-bandwidth 5G low-band (sub-1GHz) spectrum and setting a new benchmark for the utilization of global 5G low-band spectrum resources.

CBN is the sole network operator in China authorized by the government to operate nationwide network providing cable TV, mobile, fixed broadband, satellite communication services as well as providing public safety services.

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