China Mobile’s investments in the 5G mobile core network are paying off as they support 280 million 5G users across 18 verticals with simplified operations and maintenance and innovative B2B and B2C services in the world’s largest mobile network. world.
- Large-scale deployment experience confirms that a converged autonomous 5G core network architecture delivers the scale, reliability, and stability needed to meet B2B and B2C service expectations.
- A cloud-native autonomous mobile core and a robust partner ecosystem are essential to realize the full business and societal benefits of 5G.
This blog provides an overview of key facets of China Mobile’s 5G network transition journey as it navigated a maze of network transition patterns. The blog describes the operator’s decision to deploy an autonomous 5G mobile core (SA) to support the complex service requests of its B2B and B2C users.
Key Technology and Business Drivers
China Mobile launched its “5G+4G” initiative in 2019 with the aim of supporting existing 4G services while aggressively pursuing 5G opportunities. China Mobile’s approach required coordination, integration and collaboration with innovators. The operator was a key contributor to emerging 3GPP 5G standards and helped lead the industry in ongoing 5G technical standards and ecosystem evolution.
Several technical issues were identified that hampered commercial deployment, including:
|Operation and maintenance (O&M) of a multigenerational network was complex and inefficient when using separate mobile cores.||Converged 5G SA core supporting all generations of mobile networks to reduce complexity.|
|Network reliability and stability were insufficient to satisfy B2B and B2C services with diverse requirements.||Design and reliability testing to optimize network operation.|
|Cloud-based services have increased complexity, making it nearly impossible to manually manage and control the network.||Automated network O&M and analysis to 1) simplify management, 2) reduce human error, 3) perform AI root cause analysis and resolution.|
B2C services B2B vertical market services require 5G capabilities, the table below outlines the main business barriers.
|B2C services such as live video streaming and virtual reality lacked a cohesive ecosystem to deliver quality and consistent services to end users.||Formed alliances with OTTs and universities to understand streaming service requirements.|
|Companies hoped to gain new business values through digital transformation; others wanted to leverage 5G to improve working conditions and achieve operational efficiency.||The requirements called for the acceleration of a 5G SA core to support high-reliability, low-latency, and high-capacity services.|
|B2B use cases require specific technical capabilities and domain knowledge.||Worked closely with ecosystem partners in verticals where they were critical to success.|
Achievements 5G SA
China Mobile’s multi-pronged approach has resulted in significant achievements. The following table shows the main steps.
|5G development approach||Network Achievements|
|Coordinate 4G and 5G goals, enforce standards, expand network resources, and perform network trials.||Over 50,000 5G base stations serving 280 million 5G users.
Launch of 5G services with a three-tier service model (Express, Premium and Luxury) in 50 cities.
Supports 18+ industry verticals and 4000+ B2B use cases
|Leverage AI, IoT, cloud, big data and edge computing to manage network operations and deliver diverse services||Launched its AI platform (JIUTIAN), with 42 AI capabilities.
Supports 160 million and over 600 million connections respectively on OneNET and OneLink, its cloud storage solution platforms.
Established a mobile cloud resource pool with 4 centralized Internet data centers and 45 provincial-level Internet data centers.
Processing more than 1,100 TB of data per day on the Big Data platform.
Cloud Edge products and services supported on multiple distribution websites.
Demonstrated live streaming services using network slicing technologies.
|Driven a robust 5G ecosystem through alliances and investments in test facilities and education.||25 laboratories serving more than 500 vertical industrial partners.
Device alliances with over 110 partners, spanning devices, chips, applications and solutions.
Digital Alliance with more than 100 partners, presented more than 1,000 product promotion events.
|Commercialization of several 5G applications and active promotion of new use cases||4K/8K live streaming, providing more than 30 apps.
Over 50 demo apps, many of which are the first in their respective industries
In August 2021, 5G SA live network testing verified that the network architecture and implementation met carrier-grade network security and reliability requirements. Accomplishments noted in the 5G journey can be attributed to decisions to embrace 5G technologies, influence standards, and establish a strong partner ecosystem to drive innovation.
China Mobile continues to promote and deliver new B2C and B2B services, driven by its 5G network technologies, commitments to 5G standards, and alliances with vendors and ecosystem partners.