China Unicom, China Telecom ink 5G network sharing deal

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China Unicom and China Telecom have signed an agreement to co-build and co-share their 5G networks.

The deal, which was announced earlier this week, will see China Telecom and a unit of China Unicom work together to co-build 5G networks in 15 cities, sharing 5G frequency bands.

The agreement states that China Unicom will build 60% of 5G base stations in the cities of Beijing, Tianjin, Zhengzhou, Qingdao and Shijiazhuang, while China Telecom will build 40%. The ratios will be reversed for Shanghai, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Suzhou, Changsha, Wuhan, and Chengdu, so China Telecom will build 60% in these 10 southern cities.

The deal also commits “non-aggression” between the partners. For example, if one of the carriers collaborates with a third party it should not harm the interest of the other partner. Details of revenue settlement in the shared networks is set to be worked out at a later date.

China Telecom and China Unicom will build their own separate 5G core networks in other parts of the country. China Telecom’s own network will extend to 19 provinces, while China Unicom’s will cover 10.

Both brands will save costs and remain independent. The companies will uphold the principle of “maximising the benefits of joint construction to facilitate sustainable cooperation,” detailed the statement.

China Unicom stated that the cooperation agreement will “help improve network investment return and asset operation efficiency, leading to a win-win for both parties”.