Li Huidi, EVP of China Mobile Communications Corporation, took the stand to share China Mobile’s experience of 5G development and discuss the road to 5G business growth at Huawei’s Day0 Forum at MWC22 Barcelona.
Li believes that at present, we are at a new juncture of the technical and industrial revolutions, with digital transformation picking up speed both in society and the economy. He noted three terms that are now mentioned frequently when discussing China’s economy:
New infrastructure: 5G, new data centres, and the industrial internet powering the development of social and economic activities.
New elements: technology and data, which have already become new components of advancing society and the economy into a new round of sustainable high-speed growth by augmenting the effects of various traditional components.
New drivers: highlighting the leading role of information technology in transforming industries and moving the digital economy forward, automatically spurring on the high-quality growth of society and the economy.
China’s digital economy has huge market potential and promising prospects. It’s expected to reach 65 trillion Chinese yuan by 2025, more than 20 trillion of which will be attributed to information services.
Li explained that China Mobile’s new strategy is to build a powerhouse to fit the new digital economy while solidifying its position as a leading global information services provider and innovator. The operator is working to build a new information infrastructure empowered by 5G, computing force networks, and ability as a service , with the overall goal to enhance the digital economy as a whole.
The operator is making full use of 5G to provide high-speed, secure and ubiquitous mobile connectivity, and it is building advanced high-quality 5G networks nationwide in order to realise this. There are more than 380 million 5G package subscribers and about 300 million 5G terminal users on China Mobile’s network, and the operator has invested heavily to promote computing force as an on-demand, indispensible social service with one-click access.
The ability as a service provides digital intelligence capabilities that can be encapsulated in a unified fashion and invoked flexibly. The platform provides 107 AI capabilities in the form of “ability as a service” across the entire network, with daily calls exceeding 6 billion – benefiting end users, enterprises, and society at large.
Both the digital economy and 5G networks are developing rapidly, pushing China Mobile to develop 5G networks of ‘best-in-class’ quality. Its network has over 700,000 5G base stations in operation – around 30% of the global total. Its network covers over 1 billion people, covering all major cities, towns and rural areas, making it the world’s largest 5G service provider. By the end of this year, the operator plans to build more than 1 million 5G base stations.
With the extensive use of massive MIMO, uplink enhancement and carrier aggregation, China Mobile is able to deliver a peak download rate of around 3Gbps, and is accelerating its pilots of high-precision positioning, lightweight new radio, and other 3GPP release 17 features.
China Mobile is preparing to offer VoNR (Voice over NR), which will help to improve call reliability and video calling. The operator is also increasing network energy efficiency by enabling smart power savings in all cells. Additionally, 70% of its sites use C-RAN architecture, greatly reducing operational costs.
The operator has also achieved full 5G coverage along the Beijing-Zhangjiakou high-speed railway line; to do so, it combined three physical sites 300 metres apart into a ‘super cell’, meaning that users do not have to be handed over as trains pass between the three sites.
China Mobile always pushes for centralised and cloud-based deployment, and has already built the world’s largest cloud core networks. Currently its SA core networks have over 100,000 servers and can serve 350 million users. The goal is to achieve 100% virtualisation of core network functions and capacity by 2025. With its 4G/5G convergent design, 4G functions are converged into 5G design, enabling smooth network evolution. This scale of centralised deployment creates security risks, so China Mobile has set up a disaster recovery system to cover all fault scenarios spanning from virtual machines to data centres.
China Mobile has the largest user base and networks in the world, and is improving its network structure by building autonomous networks featuring in-depth cloud network integration and a high level of automation and intelligence. China Mobile has provided new DICT services featuring zero-wait, zero-trouble, and zero-touch to both consumers and enterprises. and also has developed smart network configurations featuring self-configuring, self-healing and self-optimising, that means the operator is well positioned to improve its customers’ competitiveness, create greater value and empower production.