With the rapid growth of network traffic demand, the 5G
commercialization process is also accelerating, and many operators around the
world announced that they will launch 5G services in 2019. As one of the four
main equipment vendors in the 4G era, ZTE has released 5G end-to-end product
solutions, ready for the coming large-scale 5G network construction. As of now,
ZTE has carried out 5G cooperation and testing with more than 40 operators
worldwide, and continues to rank in the first camp of 5G
5G is highly
Compared with 4G, 5G features tens or hundreds times higher
network speed, lower latency and much higher connection density, some of which
may not be provided by 4G. Therefore, it has really significant influence to
users, economy and the society. Along with the development of 5G, we also
witness the rapid rise of AI (artificial intelligence), IoT (Internet of
Things), Cloud Computing, Big Data, edge computing and other new technologies.
The integration of these technologies and 5G will bring a powerful burst, so
individual users and industries are highly expecting 5G.
“5G not only upgrades 4G services, improves individual
digital experience, but also creates lots of new services, such as Cloud AR/VR,
Cloud Gaming, individual live video and other immersive real-time video
service.” Wang Weibin, Chief Engineer of ZTE Telecom Cloud and Core Network,
said, “These are just the first wave of 5G applications. It is the nature evolution
from 4G MBB to 5G eMBB, to address capacity demands of large-bandwidth services
with lower bit cost. With the introduction of uRLLC and eMTC, 5G will bring
industrial revolutions of IoE (Internet of Everything). It will provide
autonomous car based on IoV (Internet of Vehicles), intelligent manufacturing
based on UAV and industrial robot, telemedicine based on low-latency
connection, smart city, smart agriculture, and other various industrial
“4G changes the life, while 5G changes the society. To some
degree, the emergence of 5G is comparable to the emergence of automobiles. It
has an unimaginable effect on the economic and social development of various
countries.” Wang said.
eMBB scenarios are commercial
After years of development, 5G technologies and devices are
becoming more and more mature, and already support the commercialization of 5G
services such as eMBB.
As early as 2014, many countries have begun to study the
core technologies of 5G mobile communications, including large-scale antenna
arrays, ultra-dense networking, new multi-access, full spectrum access, and new
network structures. On June 13, 2018, the 3GPP Plenary (TSG #80) approved the
freeze of 5G Standalone (SA) function, which is the international 5G standard in
a truly complete sense. Up to now, both 5G SA and NSA standards of eMMB
scenario have been frozen, uRLLC will be frozen in March next year, NB-IoT and
eMTC are defined as 5G features, and mMTC definition is expected to be
completed in R17.
Currently, the 5G industry chain is getting mature rapidly.
For example, NSA smart phone is already commercialized, and NSA/SA dual-mode
chip and smart phone will be in volume production as early as in 2019 Q3 or Q4.
System equipment vendors are also making good preparation. NSA/SA dual-mode
base station, and NSA/SA convergent core network are now in trials, and will be
ready for scale commercial use in H2 2019.
Overall, 5G industry is commercial ready for eMBB scenario,
while uRLLC and mMTC still call for improvement. According to GSMA’s forecast,
more than 30 countries and areas will promote 5G commercial service in 2020,
and global 5G users will reach 1.36 billion in 2025.
In the 5G field, Chinese vendors take very significant
positions. Wang Weibin says that China is one of 5G pacemakers, leading 5G
standard development, 5G technology verification and commercialization, 5G
terminal and system equipment manufacturing technologies. In the next few
years, China will take 5G commercial operation as the leader, and use
applications to drive systems, use systems to drive equipment, use equipment to
drive terminals, use terminals to drive chips, and then drive relatively weak
links of software, antenna and instrument to further consolidate its leading
position in technology development.
5G commercialization will not be accomplished overnight
Compared with the rapid maturity of technology and
equipment, 5G commercial process is difficult to accomplish overnight, and
there are many problems to be explored, such as 5G business model and network
Wang Weibin explains that though 5G can reduce the cost per
bit of mobile bandwidth, competition and policies also make it more difficult
to monetize traffic, so the existing mobile network business model cannot support
the sustainable development of 5G. People are talking about the application of
5G in vertical industries. The prospect is very good and the market space is
also very large. However, due to many factors involved, relevant technical
standards and industry maturity are relatively low. From the perspective of
refined operation, how to introduce various billing modes such as billing per
traffic, rate, connection number, latency, slice, and slice + SaaS. Whether it
can support new business models to monetize traffic, rate, connections,
latency, slice resource and services. All of these require a lot of research.
5G is not only the pipeline, but also a business model
innovation, a change in service methods and a vertical business integration
innovation. To achieve commercial success, 5G must explore possible new
business models in advance, and promote 5G to embark on a pathway of
sustainable development through “quantitative change + qualitative change”. On
the other hand, agile and refined operations will make traditional network
O&M methods unbearable, which requires the introduction of new technologies
to achieve automated and intelligent network O&M.
Stay in the first
According to Wang Weibin, by virtue of outstanding 5G
products and solutions, ZTE is now cooperating with more than 40 mainstream
operators worldwide in the 5G field. ZTE has accumulated lots of practical
experience and stays in the first camp of 5G. In China, ZTE participated in the
5G test led and planned by the government, which is also the largest regional
5G test project in the world. The whole project is divided into three stages:
key technology verification, technical solution verification and system
solution verification. In this project, ZTE has made very good results.
“Since September 2018, ZTE has won multiple firsts in the
national 5G SA core network test: the first to make through the 5GC First Call
based on 3-layer decoupling and SA architecture, the first to complete the 4G
and 5G two-way interoperation, and the first to complete comprehensive
functional test of multiple network functions including
AMF/NSSF/NRF/SMF/AUSF/UDM/PCF/UPF.” Wang Weibin said, “Recently, ZTE and Orange
cooperated to completes the Europe’s first 100% 5G call based on SA
Now, ZTE 5G Core is commercial ready, and ZTE unveiled the
Common Core convergent core network product in 2019Q1, which will help
operators accelerate 5G commercialization and 4G expansion. ZTE is the main
contributor to global 5G technology research and standard making. Among the
first 3GPP 5G standard essential patents disclosed by ETSI (European
Telecommunications Standards Institute), ZTE owns more than 1200 families. Wang
Weibin says, the SBA-based 5G Core will continuously assist operators achieving
digital transformation in the 5G era, to bring more possibilities and
expectations to the 5G network.
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