CBN establishes new JV operator as fourth national telco

14 Oct 2020

Chinese state-backed firm China Broadcasting Network Corporation Ltd (CBN, also known as China Radio and Television Network or China Radio and TV) has established a new joint venture company to operate as the country’s fourth national telco. The new firm, China Broadcasting Network Co Ltd, was established in Beijing on 12 October 2020 with a registered capital of CNY101.2 billion (USD15 billion) and is 51% owned by CBN, whilst its other shareholders include State Grid Information and Telecommunication Group, Alibaba Venture Capital Management, Guangdong Radio Television Network and Beijing All Media Culture Group. In a statement, the National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) – the government agency with control and oversight of CBN – noted that the new company had a total of 46 sponsors including strategic investors and shareholders which collectively hold 51% of non-listed provincial cable TV network companies. China Broadcasting Network Co Ltd is tasked with the development of an integrated national cable TV network, and the construction of a ‘radio and TV 5G network’.

On the 5G front, CBN was allocated a 5G licence in June 2019 and already held the rights for spectrum in the 700MHz and 4.9GHz bands. In early 2020 the company signed a 5G co-construction and sharing agreement with China Mobile that would see both firms invest equal amounts in the construction of a 700MHz 5G network, with the pair jointly owning the network and sharing rights to use the system. As noted by TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the company has stated that its intention is to primarily utilise 5G technology for a converged media communications network, although it will also provide mobile communications services.

Elsewhere, meanwhile, NRTA noted that CBN has already made ‘important progress’ towards national cable TV network integration, and that the new company will ‘establish a unified operation and management system for cable TV network integration and radio and television 5G construction in accordance with the requirements of “unified construction, unified management, unified standards, and unified branding”’. Further, the operator will implement a so-called ‘Smart Broadcasting’ strategy that will see the firm utilise ‘mobile internet, smart operating systems and other new technologies to carry diversified applications, develop smart products that meet the needs of digital life, and provide users with ultra-high definition (4K/8K) and virtual reality (VR) [and] IoT [services]’.