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China Broadcasting Network begins 5G services

China’s national radio and TV network operator becomes fourth company to offer 5G services in the country, serving the cities of Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Shenzhen

After beginning trials of the next-generation comms infrastructure in the summer of 2019 and getting its official green light to build a commercial network in November of the same year, China Broadcasting Network (CBN), which operates the country’s national radio and TV networks, has now received permission to begin to operate 5G services.

CBN’s launch comes two months after the country’s big three operators – China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom – switched on their 5G services at the same time.

The country’s ambition for 5G is huge: the synchronised roll-out saw more than 86,000 5G base stations enter service in China, covering 50 cities nationwide.

By the end of 2019, more than 126,000 5G base stations were established across the country to support the networks, resulting in one of the world’s largest 5G deployments.

In September 2019 alone, around 497,000 China-made 5G smartphones were purchased by retailers.

In December 2019, Miao Wei, China’s minister of industry and information technology, revealed that 870,000 users had signed up for 5G packages less than a month after the three major operators launched them.

Shipments of 5G smartphones in China reached more than eight million units by December 2019, and some 24 new phones were rolled out during this period.

Read more about 5G in China

The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology added that 5G networks will cover all of China’s prefecture-level cities by the end of 2020, after the country has embarked on a major 5G infrastructure development programme.

The new CBN network will provide a boost to this programme, with the company reportedly set to invest nearly $36bn in its 5G infrastructure, which will initially offer services in Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Shenzhen.

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