This August, China set up a 5G Broadcast trial in Beijing. The project was initiated by the Academy of Broadcasting Science (ABS) and China Broadcasting Network (CBN) under governmental authority of the Chinese National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA). It highly builds on technology of the German technology company Rohde & Schwarz, which is supplying the transmitters and core network components.
Bavarian 5G Today project as role model
In general, the project follows the example of the 5G Today project in Bavaria. The Bavarian project, funded by the Bavarian Research Foundation (BFS) and in operation since May 2019, could convince a NRTA delegation to also operate such an experimental field, when they visited Munich to investigate the 5G Broadcast solution in April 2019.
The Chinese trial network has been on air only for a few weeks and marks the first step of Chinese long-term 5G broadcast strategies. Commercial deployment of 5G broadcast is planned for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, followed by further national expansion by 2025.
Like the Bavarian 5G Today project, the Chinese trial uses the FeMBMS (Further evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service) and related High Tower High Power (HTHP) concept. CBN received a commercial 5G license on 4.9 GHz with 50 MHz bandwidth in June 2019 for the trial.
Test field with three stations
With the CCTV Tower, Jing Guang Center and Ming Ren Square, the Beijing test network comprises three stations which are operated in a single-frequency network (SFN) and are approximately 10 km apart. When setting up the network, both ABS and CBN relied on German innovations, as companies like Rohde & Schwarz have been important driving forces behind 5G broadcasting for years.
German technology for Chinese test field
A software-defined radio receiver developed by Technische Universität Braunschweig and a Kathrein signal analyser are also part of the test package for the Chinese trial. With the implementation ABS and CBN plan to carry out various tests, such as field strength propagation, network coverage, mobile reception, application possibilities and interconnection with the LTE unicast network.
According to Rohde & Schwarz, the Beijing 5G Broadcast trial could have an important influence on chipset and handset manufacturers due to the huge potential market. It could be a further driving force on a commercial realisation of the new broadcasting technology.