Chinese telecoms watchdog the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has announced that it has adjusted the country’s frequency use plan for the 700MHz range to accelerate the development of 5G technology and to promote the effective use of spectrum resources. Under the new plan, MIIT will abandon the current usage plan – 702MHz-798MHz for TV and radio and broadcasting – in favour of 703MHz-743MHz/758MHz-798MHz for FDD mobile communication systems. In its notification, the MIIT rules that mobile systems operating in the band must not interfere with broadcasting or other services operating in the same or adjacent frequency bands. Further, to avoid interference, frequency migration, site relocation and equipment medication of existing legal radio stations must be carried out, although the cost will be borne by the user of the 700MHz mobile spectrum.
The spectrum in question is currently held by radio and TV broadcaster and 5G newcomer China Broadcasting Network (CBN, also known as China Radio and Television), which plans to use the airwaves in conjunction with its 4.9GHz spectrum to provide a suite of interactive TV services in the short term, and mobile communication and IoT services in the future. Local news outlet C114 writes that the operator still needs to clear the spectrum and migrate existing radio and TV services to other frequencies, the cost of which was estimated to run to more than CNY10 billion (USD1.41 billion). The operator may be able to reduce that expense through cooperation with cellular providers, though, with a senior China Mobile official quoted as saying that the two providers had communicated ‘to discuss the possibility of co-construction’.