Recently, a “Luoyang Unicom sleep 5g base station at night” caused hot discussion.

According to the public report, recently, China Unicom Luoyang Branch has turned on the deep sleep function in the no-load state for three different base station radio frequency unit (AAU) devices that have been connected to the network at different time periods. For example, the deep sleep function of AAU is turned on in different time periods (21:00-9:00 the next day) for the stations that are in the process of single station verification.

Sleep at night can be understood as a kind of elastic adjustment to reduce power consumption and save power. China Tower told the interface news reporter that at present, the average power consumption of a 5g outdoor base station single tenant is about 3.8kw, more than three times that of a 4G base station, and the annual comprehensive electricity charge of a single 5g base station single tenant is about 23000-30000 yuan / year.

According to the prediction of China industrial information network, the number of 5g base stations will eventually be 1-2 times that of 4G base stations, reaching 5-6 million. It is roughly estimated that the expenditure of operators will be between 115 billion and 180 billion yuan by then, while the total profit of the three operators in 2019 will be only 138.4 billion yuan. If the conditions remain unchanged, after 5g is rolled out, the electricity cost may overdraw all the profits of the operators.

5g construction is stepping into the stage of large-scale expansion, and the high electricity cost is undoubtedly a major burden for operators at this time. On the other hand, 5g revenue side is still in the early growth stage, the business model of industry application is still being explored, and 5g construction needs to reduce cost and increase efficiency.

The annual electricity charge of a single 5g base station is more than 20000 yuan

Operators face the cost pressure of 5g base station construction

China’s telecom infrastructure construction and operation mainly adopts the mode of China’s tower construction, power transmission construction infrastructure supporting facilities, China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom three main operators rent tower, install equipment and carry out network operation, and the operation electricity fee is paid by the tower operator to the electric power department. According to the relevant person in charge of China Tower, the electricity cost of 5g base station is much higher than the tower rent after the opening of 5g base station, and the electricity cost of 5g base station has become an important burden of the industry.

As the configuration of 5g base station has changed from BBU (baseband processing unit) + RRU (radio frequency processing unit) + antenna in 4G era to AAU + du (distribution unit) + Cu (central unit) in 5g era, the power consumption of base station has been greatly increased. Secondly, because 5g uses higher frequency band, the coverage of outdoor macro station is smaller than 4G.

Therefore, to meet the same coverage target, the deployment density of 5g base stations will be 3-4 times that of 4G. According to Yang Fengyi, deputy director of China Telecom Technology Innovation Center, the overall energy consumption of 5g mobile network will be more than 9 times that of 4G.

In addition, the construction of 5g base station often needs to occupy a certain proportion of the land of other owners, such as the communication base stations in residential quarters, parks, complexes and office buildings. In the past, there were more social capital investment in the construction of power supply and distribution facilities in addition to power grid enterprises, forming the power red line of power supply and distribution facilities, so it can only access the electricity of the main body of power supply.

China Tower told the interface news reporter that for a long time, power transfer has been one of the main factors causing the high electricity price. The average electricity price of power transfer has reached 1.12 yuan / kWh, which is more than 1.8 times of the average electricity price of direct power supply. Especially in the dense urban areas mainly covered by 5g construction, the proportion of power transfer stations in different regions has reached more than 50%.

According to the data provided by China Tower, at present, the average power consumption of a 5g outdoor base station is about 3.8kw, more than three times that of a 4G base station, and the annual comprehensive electricity charge of a single 5g base station is about 23000-30000 yuan / year.

According to the estimation of relevant institutions, the construction scale of 5g network in China will reach at least 2.5 million stations by 2022. At that time, the 5g network energy consumption cost of the three operators will reach at least 57.5-75 billion yuan per year.

Yang Fengyi said that in 2018, the mobile base stations of the three operators consumed about 27 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, and the total electricity cost was about 24 billion yuan“ Under the same coverage (completely replacing the current base station), the energy consumption of 5g network will reach 243 billion kwh, and the electricity bill will reach 216 billion yuan. “

According to this calculation, the total profit of the three operators in 2019 is only 138.4 billion yuan. If the 5g revenue side does not grow significantly, after the 5g is rolled out, the electricity cost may overdraw all the profits of the operators.

Operators face the pressure of 5g construction cost

In a report, foresight Industry Research Institute indicated that 2020-2023 will be the main investment period of 5g network.

At present, the construction progress of 5g base station is accelerating. According to the latest data released by the Ministry of industry and information technology, by the end of June, more than 400000 5g base stations had been built and opened by the three major operators nationwide, and the average number of new base stations opened each week in the near future is more than 15000.

According to the latest data disclosed in the sustainable development report by the three operators of China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom, the total power consumption of the three operators in 2019 was 61.711 billion kwh, an overall increase of about 9% over 2018.

China Telecom mentioned in the report that the reasons for the rise of total power consumption in 2019 mainly include the expansion of mobile network scale, 5g network construction and the rapid growth of IDC business.

On the other hand, from the perspective of revenue, industry insiders told interface journalists that the business model of industry applications is not mature from the perspective of 5g network applications abroad, mainly relying on existing services such as high-definition video to promote the growth of public user traffic, and the single user income (Arup value) has not significantly increased, 5g business is difficult to become a new business growth point in the short term.

Affected by the epidemic factors, the 5g mobile terminal market of to C has also shrunk relatively. According to IDC, a well-known global market research organization, as of the end of June this year, the cumulative shipment of 5g mobile phones in China has exceeded 67 million. According to the latest data from the Ministry of industry and information technology, as of the end of June, 66 million 5g mobile phones had been connected to the Internet.

According to the Ministry of industry and information technology, as of April 2020, the total number of mobile phone users of the three major operators was 1.59 billion. According to 66 million, 5g users account for about 4%, while 4G users account for 80%. 5g users still account for a small proportion, and their contribution to 5g traffic can be imagined.

On the one hand is the rapid expansion of 5g base station construction, on the other hand is the business model that is still groping. At the moment, operators are facing the operating cost pressure brought by the construction.

In the latest financial report of the first quarter disclosed by operators, the net profit of the three operators showed a year-on-year decline. According to the financial report, in the first quarter, China Mobile’s revenue decreased by 2%, net profit decreased by 0.8%, and sales revenue decreased by 34.9%; China Telecom’s revenue increased by 0.7%, net profit decreased by 2.2%, and network operation and support costs increased by 9%; China Unicom’s revenue increased by 0.9% and net profit decreased by 13.8%.

China Mobile reported in the earnings analysis, the main reason is that COVID-19 was affected by COVID-19 in the first quarter, and the sales of C mobile phone terminals and IOT terminals were not good, and the construction cost of 5G was also promoted.

To get rid of labor pains, we need to reduce costs and increase efficiency

Daily Economic News quoted industry opinion that any generation of network technology upgrading in the initial stage, high operating costs are bound to suffer pains. With the rapid construction and coverage of 5g network, it will inevitably lead to the rapid growth of 5g users, and the problems of low network utilization rate and business income less than electricity expenses will be solved.

Although at present, the proportion of effective 5g users is still low, which is in the early stage. However, it can be seen that 5g continues to expand in the proportion of terminals, and the trend is good.

According to IDC data report, compared with 4G mobile phones, the proportion of 5g mobile phone shipment is increasing month by month. At the same time, the number of 5g package users announced by the three major operators also exceeded 100 million in July, and the number of terminals and packages is growing steadily.

In addition, as the domestic epidemic situation tends to stabilize, the domestic mobile phone market and Internet of things market are gradually warming up. In early August, the latest data released by canalys, a market research company, showed that China’s mobile phone market began to rebound in the second quarter. Compared with the first quarter, the shipment volume in the second quarter increased by 25% month on month. At the end of May, the number of cellular Internet of things users of the three operators reached 1.097 billion, up 44% year on year.

Market warming is releasing the potential of 5g revenue side, and in terms of construction cost, it can solve the problem of power consumption and electricity charges. At present, iron towers, operators and governments at all levels are exploring solutions.

At present, the governments of Shandong, Liaoning, Shanxi, Jiangsu, Guangdong, Hainan and other provinces and cities have issued policies to support 5g construction. By promoting the “meter reading” of base station power supply to reduce the cost of electricity, increasing financial support, and arranging special subsidies for 5g construction and operation, they help operators reduce the difficulty and cost of electricity.

On the one hand, the iron tower company actively strives for preferential policies to reduce the cost of base station power consumption; It is planned to complete 50% of the transformation of power supply stations by 2020, which will save nearly 1.5 billion yuan of electricity annually; On the other hand, from the aspect of equipment, the solution of “cutting peak and filling valley” is introduced to make full use of the price difference between peak and valley to save electricity charges; The introduction of wind, light, hydrogen and other clean energy to reduce the cost of electricity; Strengthen the rectification of stations with abnormal electricity charges, and put an end to the “leakage” of electricity charges.

Cost reduction and efficiency increase go hand in hand with active exploration of business models. After a short period of pain, terminal manufacturers, channel providers, content providers and operators will find the right value orientation, actively explore new industrial models and release the huge potential of 5g.

        Editor in charge: Tzh

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