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In The Face Of 5G, How Are Huawei, ZTE, And The Three Major Operators Deployed?
- Jun 04, 2018 -

What is 5G? 5G is a fifth-generation mobile communication network. Compared with the previous four generations of application networks, 5G is not only representative of a mobile communication network but can also be applied to the Internet of Things. 5G has three major application scenarios: eMMB (enhanced Mobile Broadband, enhanced mobile bandwidth), mMTC (Massive Machine Type Communication, massive machine type communication), and uRLLC (Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Connection, ultra-reliable low latency communication). Simply put, it is to increase the bandwidth, increase the number of connections, increase the transmission speed, and increase the transmission reliability.

For the upcoming 5G new era, upstream of the 5G industry chain (including communication equipment such as base stations, antennas, optical cables, chips, radio frequency devices, etc.), midstream (all major telecom operators), and downstream (including various types of terminals including handset manufacturers) Equipment vendors) have been gearing up. China’s telecommunications equipment vendors represented by Huawei and ZTE and China Mobile, China Unicom, and telecommunications are all deploying their 5G industries in their areas of expertise.

Two major communications equipment vendors


Huawei, as the largest telecommunications equipment supplier in China, started research on 5G since 2009 and demonstrated the Ultra-Node prototype of the 5G base station at the 2011 & 2012 MWC (World Mobile Communications) Conference. At that time, the download speed reached 50 Gbps. The maximum download rate of 4G exceeds 100M. In 2013, Huawei announced its formal entry into the 5G domain and became the world’s largest communications equipment manufacturer in the same year.

In 2016, Huawei's Polar Code solution became the final standard solution for 5G control channel eMBB scenario coding. In 2017, Huawei released the world's first 5G core network solution for 5G commercial scenarios. At the same time, Huawei is expected to release the first 5G handset in the second half of 2019, integrating Huawei's own research and development of a 5G chip based on the 3GPP standard - Barong 5G01. Huawei is deploying 5G in various areas including 5G basic standards, solutions, and downstream terminal products. It eliminates the construction of base stations for intermediate carriers and almost involves the entire industry of communications.


According to statistics, compared to 4G, 5G does not have a truly revolutionary principle. ZTE's transition from 4G to 5G is the fastest and the longest. In 2014, ZTE first proposed the concept of Pre5G at the 5G World Summit and advocated 5G technology for 4G. The most typical representative is Massive MIMO (large-scale antenna) technology, which won two global technology awards in 2016.

In 2016, ZTE officially commercialized Pre5G Massive MIMO technology in Japan. In the same year, the FDD MM base station was launched and tested in the field. It can be said that ZTE led the development of the entire MM. At the same time, ZTE released an overall 5G end-to-end solution in 2017. Compared with Huawei, ZTE is more willing to choose to promote 5G commercialization in one direction.

Three major operators

In the face of the construction of 5G base stations, the three major operators have both opportunities and challenges. The opportunities are faster 5G networks, more connected devices, and 5G commercial power companies that have brought new revenue growth points; the challenge is to build 5G base stations with high investment pressures and high costs, and 4G base stations are still under construction. The cost has not been recovered. For some remote areas, the input-output ratio cannot be measured, and there is still some distance to fully realize 5G coverage. Currently, there are three major tasks for the three major operators to deploy 5G: to clear 2G or 3G (because it occupies good spectrum resources), to continue to fully construct and maintain 4G base stations, and to build 5G base stations in some densely populated areas.


Since China Mobile's 4G network has not completed the implementation of voice (the main role of 2G), shutting down the 2G network will affect the user's normal call. While 3G is an upgrade of 2G, it only increases the transmission speed, and shutting down 3G will not affect the call quality. , And mobile in the 3G layout is not as good as China Unicom and Telecom, so mobile may give priority to close the 3G network, has now closed down 3G networks in some areas.

Before 4G does not implement 2G voice bearers, the mobile may not shut down the 2G network first. It is first necessary to construct a 4G base station capable of carrying 2G functions. At present, mobile 4G base stations are the most widely deployed of the three major operators. As of the end of 2017, there were 1.87 million mobile 4G base stations nationwide, covering 99% of the population. In 2018, Mobile will continue to consolidate the existing network while vigorously promoting 5G development.

Mobile plans to launch 5G scale trials in five cities in Hangzhou, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Suzhou and Wuhan, deploying more than 100 5G base stations in each city, and deploying small-scale 5G application demonstrations in 12 cities including Beijing, Tianjin, Shenzhen, and Chongqing. . By 2020, China Mobile will deploy more than 10,000 5G base stations.


Due to the disadvantages of China Unicom in the deployment of 2G networks, in the face of the arrival of 5G and the country's demand for retreating 2G or 3G high-quality spectrum, China Unicom has planned to retreat 2G networks instead of 3G networks because Unicom has the world's largest 3G network. In addition, the 3G network can completely replace 2G. China Unicom may maintain 3G networks and develop 4G and 5G networks in the future.

As of the end of 2017, China Unicom has 850,000 4G base stations, which is the lowest of the three. In 2018, it is expected that 110,000 base stations for 4G will be built and the number of base stations added in 2017 will be equivalent. Unicom is currently vigorously developing the 4G network stage, and relatively few 5G investments are made. It is planned that 5G field testing will be conducted in seven cities and regions including Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Nanjing and Xiong'an this year.


Unlike mobile retired 3G networks, Unicom retired 2G networks, according to statistics, Telecom expects to retired 2G and 3G networks at the same time, leaving only 4G networks and developing 5G networks. Since the 2G network guarantees the voice call quality, if the 4G network wants to completely carry the voice function, the 4G base station needs to have the VOLTE mode. At present, Telecom is vigorously promoting VOLTE commercialization, with the main goal of 4G network function to fully replace 2G and 3G network functions.

By the end of 2017, the number of telecommunications 4G base stations was 1.17 million. In 2018, it is expected to continue to build 200,000 4G base stations, but there is no large-scale investment in the construction of 5G base stations. However, Telecom stated that it will conduct 5G network related tests for Chengdu, Xiongan, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Suzhou and Lanzhou, promote 4G and 5G network collaboration, explore innovative modes of mobile network evolution, and promote the application of 5G technologies.

to sum up

To achieve full-scale application of 5G requires the joint efforts of companies in related industries. Huawei is working on the formulation of communication protocol standards and the development of terminal products (mobile phones). ZTE is using a large-scale antenna technology to achieve a single point of breakthrough, while the three major operators are maintaining and upgrading 4G base stations and establishing 5G base stations on a large scale.

Because 2G and 3G occupy high-quality spectrum resources, operators are also retiring the corresponding 2G or 3G networks according to their own development. As for the commercial use of 5G networks, no comprehensive industry standards have yet been worked out. Currently, 3GPP, the international mobile communications standardization organization, is formulating 5G independent networking standards in Busan, South Korea. The formulation of standards can accelerate the commercial development of 5G and fully realize the commercial use of 5G. Wait until the end of the full 5G standard by the end of 2019. For a comprehensive application of 5G, there is still a long way to go.

Future Intelligent Labs is an artificial intelligence, Internet and brain science cross-organization research institute jointly established by artificial intelligence scientists and related institutions of the Academy of Sciences.

The main tasks of the smart lab in the future include: establishing an IQ evaluation system for AI intelligent systems, conducting world intelligence evaluation of artificial intelligence; developing an internet (city) cloud and brain research plan, and constructing internet (city) cloud-brain technology and corporate maps, in order to enhance enterprises, Industry and city intelligence level services.