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China Broadnet enters 5G turf war

By CHENG YU | China Daily | Updated: 2022-06-28 09:38

A China Broadnet staffer (left) addresses customer queries at a service hall in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, on June 9. [LONG WEI/FOR CHINA DAILY]

Competition to be 'greatly intensified' with newcomer offering cheaper option

China Broadcasting Network Corp Ltd (China Broadnet), the country's fourth-largest telecom operator, officially launched its 5G services on Monday, with the lowest package priced at 118 yuan ($17.65) per month, which industry experts said will up the ante for 5G competition in the world's largest 5G market.

According to China Broadnet, the price of its 5G packages ranges from 118 yuan to 588 yuan per month. The 118 yuan package includes 40 gigabytes of data and 200 minutes of calling while the 588 yuan includes 98 GB of data and 1,600 minutes of calling. Mobile phone numbers using China Broadnet will begin with the prefix 192.

The move comes three years after the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology granted 5G commercial licenses to China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom and China Broadnet in 2019.

China Broadnet was set up to promote the integration of national cable TV networks and 5G applications.

Compared with the country's big three telecom carriers, the price of China Broadnet's 5G packages is lower. For instance, China Unicom offers 129 yuan for 30 GB of 5G data while China Mobile offers 49 yuan for 10 GB of 5G data in some cities.

"The aim of launching cheaper 5G packages from China Broadnet is to grab more users from other telecom carriers. With the entry of the fourth-largest operator, the balance and landscape among the three major telecom operators will be broken and 5G competition will be greatly intensified," said Fu Liang, an independent telecom analyst.

"However, it is still difficult for China Broadnet to win over consumers from the other three in 5G at the early stage, given the huge gap of 5G-subscribed users with the other providers," Fu said.

Data from MIIT showed that as of May, the total number of mobile phone users of the three major operators reached 1.66 billion, among which, 5G users reached 428 million, up 73.34 million compared with the end of last year.

"Like other countries, to develop a healthy communication network, at least three or four companies are needed. The entry of China Broadnet is to promote the healthy competition of the telecommunications industry," said Wang Zhiqin, deputy head of the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, a think tank.

"China Broadnet will also spare its own 700-megabyte frequency band resources for 5G construction, which is also of significance for the application of 5G networks," he said.

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