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China Mobile to dominate 700Mhz 5G golden frequency
A worker connects fittings on a 5G tower in China. File photo by AFP.

(ATF) China Mobile’s 2021 ‘Terminal Product Strategy’, released on Wednesday (March 10), will focus on building a 700Mhz 5G network and all handset makers will need to build models that use that frequency.

The new network will be the “China Broadcasting and Television-China Mobile Joint Construction of 700MHz Terminal Ecosystem.”

As the TV and radio sector have no experience or resources in 5G and mobile networks but were awarded the sought-after 700Mhz bandwidth, there was a bit of a bunfight between other carriers such as China Unicom and China Telecom to partner with TV and radio, which China Mobile appears to have won, prior to the announcement.

700MHz Terminal Ecosystem Co-construction Plan

China Mobile officially released its “5G Mobile Phone Product White Paper”, “Pan-Terminal Product White Paper” and “Industry Terminal Product White Paper” at the meeting, according to CBN.

Under the cooperation of China Radio and Television and China Mobile, the relevant chapters of the white paper clarified 5G terminals of various categories. The support and technical requirements for the 700MHz frequency band provide a solid foundation for the industry to jointly build a 700MHz terminal ecosystem. 

At this meeting, China Broadcasting and Television and China Mobile jointly launched the “700MHz Terminal Ecosystem Co-construction Plan”, calling on the terminal industry chain to upgrade frequency band capabilities and accelerating support for the 2×30MHz large-bandwidth 700MHz 5G frequency band shared by both parties.

Prior to this, on January 26, China Mobile and China Radio and Television signed a “5G Strategy” cooperation agreement, officially launching the joint construction and sharing of the 700MHz 5G network. The agreement specifically involves the “5G Network Co-construction and Sharing Cooperation Agreement”, the “5G Network Maintenance Cooperation Agreement”, the “Market Cooperation Agreement” and the “Network Usage Fee Settlement Agreement” in four aspects.

What is 700MHz?

700MHz is an FDD – Frequency Division Duplex – frequency band of 5G NR. The uplink frequency band is 703MHz~748MHz, and the downlink frequency band is 758MHz~803MHz. It is the low frequency band of 5G and is known as the 5G golden frequency band.

According to the Shanghai Securities News, at the 87th Access Network Plenary Meeting of 3GPP, the International Standards Organization for Mobile Communications, which ended in March 2020, China Radio and Television’s 700MHz band 2×30/40MHz technical proposal was adopted and included in the 5G international standard, becoming the world’s first low-frequency band and large bandwidth 5G international standard.

The industry research report of Galaxy Securities shows that, at present, the 5G commercial frequency of domestic operators in China can be roughly divided into the following frequency bands:

# 700MHz – mobile, broadcasting and television co-construction and sharing;

# 2.6GH – China Mobile construction, broadcasting and television can be used for a fee;

# 3.5 GHz – Unicom Telecom jointly builds and shares 200MHz; Telecom Unicom Radio and TV shares 100MHz indoor dedicated frequency band;

# 4.9GHz -mobile, radio and television spectrum is continuous, currently no related cooperation is involved.

What are the opportunities to improve the 700MHz terminal ecosystem?

Wanlian Securities stated that the 700MHz frequency band is recognized as a golden frequency band in the industry, which can supplement the lack of 2.6GHz uplink coverage and is used for wide-area coverage.

A nationwide 5G network will be built within a short period of time, which will greatly enhance downstream 5G application scenarios. The coverage area is good for the development of related downstream 5G applications.

China Merchants Securities believes that 700MHz has the advantages of low propagation loss, wide coverage, strong penetration ability, and low networking cost. It is suitable for the development of the Internet of Things and Industrial Internet. It is optimistic about the long-term deployment of broadcasting and television in the Internet of Things and Industrial Internet. It is recommended to pay attention to TECHNOLOGIES Baosight Software, Guanghetong, Danghong Technology, Youfang Technology, Wasion Information, and Yinghantong.

Great Wall Securities believes that 700MHz will empower “network + content” and promote the implementation of vertical applications such as the Internet of Things and ultra-high-definition video. Data traffic will usher in a surge. 

Galaxy Securities believes that, on the whole, the industry chain of related wireless network equipment and devices around 3.5GHz has a high degree of maturity.

At present, the 5G frequency range of most countries in the world is also around 3.5-3.6GHz. The 700MHz and 2.6GHz industrial chains of mobile and radio and television are relatively weak, and there is a lot of room for future development. 

According to relevant calculations, at least 400,000 700MHz 5G base stations are required nationwide to achieve basic coverage, including wide-area coverage in rural areas. 

The 700MHz wireless network is expected to be completed in one to two years, and the radio and television core network is also expected to advance simultaneously. Related communication equipment vendors are expected to benefit.

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Chris Gill

With over 30 years reporting on China, Gill offers a daily digest of what is happening in the PRC.

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