China to Grant Fourth 5G License
Beijing has confirmed speculation that China Broadcasting Network Co. Ltd. will be the country’s fourth 5G carrier, a development which an analyst described as “illogical.”
The telecommunications regulator, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, has agreed to China Broadcasting’s joining the 5G operator list, and the company is in the middle of applying for a license, said Nie Chenxi, head of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.
Nie made the remarks at a government meeting last week, the details of which were made public on Monday.
This announcement confirmed a Caixin report last month that state-owned China Broadcasting had emerged as a potential fourth operator.
China Broadcasting was formed in 2014 by combining many of the country’s regional cable-TV operators. It was originally set up to run cable networks but was granted a license to operate internet and telecom services in 2016.
The company refused to comment on Nie’s announcement.
China has been racing to develop 5G technology after trailing its foreign counterparts in setting wireless standards for the current 4G system.
The country intends to start testing commercial-quality 5G wireless services next year and could roll out national commercial networks in 2020.
Analysts have questioned the wisdom of awarding a fourth 5G license in a market that is already well-served by the three big state-owned carriers, given the significant expense of building a fourth wireless network.
Currently, China’s wireless market is dominated by three state-owned giants: China Mobile Ltd., China United Network Communications Group Co. Ltd. (China Unicom), and China Telecommunications Corp. (China Telecom).
According to Mitchell Kim, a Hong Kong-based analyst with Maybank Kim Eng Securities, “it’s illogical” to have a fourth operator since the sector is already very competitive, and the government does not need to generate revenue by selling off a new spectrum.
“We all have seen the challenges of the smaller players in (the) mobile (sector) as they are always at a disadvantage on capex (capital expenditures) when competing against the large China Mobile,” Kim said.
Building 5G infrastructure from scratch could cost China Broadcasting as much as 100 billion yuan ($14.4 billion) per year, and the company will likely have to endure many years of losses before breaking even is a possibility, he added.
Telecom industry analyst Fu Liang said China Broadcasting has a great hurdle to overcome — it has to convince consumers that they should switch to its services from the current three carriers to which they have grown accustomed.
Some analysts suggested China Broadcasting should target niche sectors such as the industrial internet or autonomous-vehicle industries — market segments that would not cannibalize existing operators’ revenues.
Earlier media reports said the authorities are set to officially award the four 5G licenses at the beginning of next year.
Contact reporter Jason Tan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Jan 27 14:25
Jan 27 14:09
Jan 27 13:57
Jan 24 06:56
Jan 24 06:01
Jan 24 02:16
Jan 23 18:30
Jan 23 16:00
Jan 23 10:48
Jan 23 05:58
Jan 23 03:49
Jan 23 03:41
- 1Wuhan Virus Latest: Medical Resource Shortages Remain as Patient Numbers Grow
- 2Reporter’s Notebook: We Stayed in Wuhan as the Last Trains Pulled Out
- 3Travel Warnings Issued as Coronavirus Cases Confirmed on Four Continents
- 4Wuhan Virus Update: Health Expert Warns of ‘Super-Spreader’ of Viral Pneumonia
- 5After Layoffs, Oracle Executive Vows to Stay in China
- 1Power To The People: Pintec Serves A Booming Consumer Class
- 2Largest hotel group in Europe accepts UnionPay
- 3UnionPay mobile QuickPass debuts in Hong Kong
- 4UnionPay International launches premium catering privilege U Dining Collection
- 5UnionPay International’s U Plan has covered over 1600 stores overseas