Time flies like a white horse, and 2020 is a thing of the past. 2020 is the year of large-scale 5G construction in China and the first year of large-scale commercial use of 5G.

Over the past year, under the dual effects of the new crown pneumonia epidemic and new infrastructure, 5G has continued to "break the circle". While receiving strong support from the state and local governments for 5G construction, it has also received continuous advancement of the industrial chain. China has also built The world's largest 5G network.

According to data from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, as of December, my country has built a total of 718,000 5G base stations, exceeding the annual target ahead of schedule. All prefecture-level cities have achieved 5G coverage, the number of 5G terminal connections has exceeded 180 million, and more than 300 cities have opened 5G services.

Whether it is the scale of network deployment or the scale of user development, China's information and communication industry has delivered a satisfactory answer. 5G has become the core driver of social and economic recovery, and the slogan "5G changes society" has gradually become reality. .

As we all know, 5G requires higher speed, more bandwidth and base stations, and the coverage is more dense than 2G, 3G and 4G. The trend of 5G is to make the connection point of wireless access closer to customers. Therefore, the industry generally believes that in 2021 , my country's 5G network construction and industrial scale will further grow, and the growth rate will exceed 2020.

It is worth noting that Xiao Yaqing, Minister of Industry and Information Technology, pointed out at the 2021 National Industry and Information Technology Work Conference that in 2021, the construction and application of 5G networks will be promoted in an orderly manner, 5G coverage in major cities will be accelerated, joint construction and sharing will be promoted, and 60 new 5G base stations will be built. more than 10,000.

It can be seen that the number of 5G base station construction in 2021 will no longer be the only focus. The 5G network should be promoted from large-scale construction and extensive coverage to on-demand construction and in-depth coverage. Support the needs of 5G and the digital development of all walks of life.

From "overlay network" to "boutique network"

In July 2020, the 3GPP TSG#88e meeting finalized the 3GPP 5G Rel-16 function and ASN.1 freeze, and will officially release the Release-16 series of technical specifications after the meeting. The completion and release of the Rel-16 standard means that various manufacturers The R&D and manufacturing of corresponding products can be carried out according to this version, which further enriches the application scenarios of 5G technology and further accelerates the process of global 5G network deployment.

After the official establishment of the R16 standard, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology clearly proposed to focus on accelerating the network construction of independent networking. Undoubtedly, only the independent networking method can further demonstrate the performance of 5G. According to the 3GPP plan, 5G standards are divided into NSA (non-standalone) and SA (standalone). Non-standalone networking is a hybrid networking method in which 5G base stations are connected to the 4G core network by transforming the 4G network in the early stage of 5G construction, while standalone networking is a completely independent 5G network. Only the SA network can fully provide eMMB (enhanced). Mobile broadband, that is, large bandwidth), URLLC (high reliability and low latency), mMTC (mass connection, that is, wide connection) three major application scenarios and network applications with new 5G features such as network slicing, edge computing, and cloud-network integration.

At present, my country's 5G has initially formed a leading trend. On this basis, independent networking (SA) has become a new goal of 5G. The three major domestic operators are all accelerating their evolution towards 5G SA. This is a new stage for my country to lead the development of 5G, and it is also the top priority for the development of new 5G infrastructure.

As a leader in 5G construction, China Mobile took the lead in building SA commercial networks in China, and at the same time built the world's largest 5G SA network.

As of the beginning of November, the total number of 5G SA base stations that China Mobile has actually opened has reached 380,000, which is nearly two months ahead of the original network construction plan. Another public report shows that China Mobile has built the world's largest 5G SA commercial core network, which is fully commercialized in all prefecture-level and above cities across the country, completing the construction task one quarter ahead of schedule. Currently, China Mobile's 5G SA commercial core network can support 100 million individual users and 20 million government, enterprise and industry users are all online at the same time.

Under the guidance of adhering to the 5G SA development strategy, China Telecom and China Unicom have achieved remarkable results in co-construction and sharing. China Telecom took the lead in announcing the commercial use of 5G SA in the world in November this year. Up to now, China Telecom has built more than 340,000 sites, covering more than 300 cities across the country, with over 70 million 5G users; China Unicom has quickly completed the world's first large-scale 5G co-construction and shared network construction and commercial use, and completed the end-to-end capability deployment of the SA independent networking mode. In November, China Unicom realized the world's first SA slice in Beijing and Guangdong. By 2021, China Unicom is expected to be nationwide Deploy SA slices for commercial use.

Undoubtedly, with the acceleration of new 5G infrastructure, China will be commercializing 5G SA, which will be feasible in 2020, and will usher in the first commercial year of independent networking in 2021. The collaboration between 5G SA network and the digital development of various industries will also continue to deepen. Exploration, China's 5G network construction will also be transformed from "coverage network" to "boutique network".

Nuggets 5G To B

At present, with the acceleration of 5G, the digital transformation of the economy and society is getting faster and faster.

One year since the commercial use of 5G, government departments have issued a number of important policies related to 5G, accelerating the construction of 5G networks and industrial layout. In the past year, although some applications in the 5G industry have been implemented, small-scale commercial use has been achieved, and the era of the 5G industry is coming. However, from the current development situation, there are still many challenges.

Behind the construction of 5G network, the promotion of applications is the key point. As Xiao Yaqing pointed out, it is necessary to use 5G construction as the traction to coordinate the deployment of data centers and computing facilities. At the same time, focus on 10 key industries, form 20 typical industrial application scenarios, carry out industrial 5G private network pilots, and release 5G millimeter wave frequency plans for some frequency bands in a timely manner.

Taking the industrial Internet as an example, the 5G industry-level applications in the past two years are mainly for eMBB application scenarios. However, only the introduction of 5G SA network technologies such as uRLLC and mMTC can meet the needs of more application scenarios, and in the future, 5G slicing, 5G+MEC and other technologies and solutions will be widely used in thousands of industries represented by power grids, steel, cement, etc., enabling their digital transformation.

With the further large-scale rollout of new 5G infrastructure across the country in 2021, 5G services will gradually expand to various vertical industries, and 5G + various industry integration application scenarios will also be fully opened. At that time, the integration application of vertical industries will present a spectacular scene of a hundred flowers blooming. The corresponding business model will also be more perfect.

However, it should be pointed out that the integration and application innovation of 5G in vertical industries also faces many challenges. The previous generations of mobile communication systems mainly meet the needs of "people" for communication, Internet access, and social interaction. Operators have little in-depth communication with other vertical industries, and cannot accurately know the needs of each vertical industry. Can vertical industries put forward the test.

At the same time, the needs of each vertical industry vary widely, and it is difficult to replicate the successful experience of the consumer Internet era. For example, railway, electric power, emergency, public security, transportation and other industries require different communication system performance and solutions, and it is difficult to replicate and promote on a large scale on the basis of a successful case.

In addition, many vertical industries have not yet seen the application value of 5G in their industries, and the business model in the 5G era is also unclear, which requires operators and vertical industries to explore and explore together.

Therefore, only building a business model suitable for the application of 5G technology is the foundation for the success of 5G. With the further large-scale deployment of new 5G infrastructure across the country in 2021, 5G services will gradually expand to various vertical industries, and 5G + various industry integration application scenarios will also be It will be fully opened. At that time, the integrated application of vertical industries will present a spectacular scene of blooming flowers, and the corresponding business model will be more perfect.

Responsible editor: tzh

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