PRESS RELEASE: The deployment of 5G Deep Mobile Networks (DMNs) in coal mines has been at the center of a series of recent successes: Shanxi Sanyuan Coal Industry Co., Ltd. is advancing the deployment and application of 5G DMNs; Shanxi Liulin Xinfei’s coal mines have completed the deployment of 5G DMNs; and Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Henan, and other provinces have started to deploy 5G DMNs in coal mines on a large scale. 5G DMNs have been commercialized at a remarkable speed. It took just two years for the concept proposal to be developed into innovative solutions and launched across China.

In November 2021, China Mobile, Huawei, the China National Coal Association (CNCA), and China University of Mining and Technology (Beijing) published the 5G Deep Mobile Network (5G DMN) White Paper during the China 5G + Industrial Internet Conference to tackle network challenges in underground mining. In the white paper, they propose the construction of new 5G DMNs and technological systems based on China Mobile and its partners’ experience in deploying 5G private networks in the mining industry. The white paper envisions an intelligent and comprehensive dedicated underground mobile communications network based on 5G, which would allow mobile operators to provide 5G DMN-based communications services for both members of the public visiting underground sites and enterprises working in underground environments like mines. Considering underground service requirements in radio propagation and network performance, such as security and reliability, 5G DMNs are used to build technological systems that feature ubiquitous connections, superior performance, multi-function networks, and simplified O&M to support fully intelligent sensing, decision-making, and comprehensive management in mines. Huawei has recently launched an innovative 5G DMN solution that is capable of high uplink, long coverage, and low latency. The uplink speeds on coal faces can support the concurrent uploading of more than 100 channels of HD video. The solution increases the coverage distance in roadways by 75% compared with other conventional solutions. One base station can support 5G, LTE, and NB-IoT, meaning that it can meet multi-scenario requirements, such as voice, video, remote control, and IoT.

In October 2022, China Mobile, China Broadnet, and Huawei worked with Shanxi Sanyuan Coal Industry Co., Ltd. to build the first DMN-piloted benchmark mine. This is the world’s first 5G network to support a range of underground applications including coal faces, heading, chambers, roadways, vehicle dispatching, and intelligent individual equipment. A 5G DMN module is deployed at both ends of a coal face so that an uplink bandwidth of 1 Gbps can be achieved across the entire coal face. This eliminates the need to deploy 5G modules connected with easily breakable fibers in the middle of a coal face. In addition, with the video splicing solution, videos from more than 100 HD cameras can be smoothly transferred. This enables the first HD panoramic remote control of coal faces. Industry experts and leaders have praised this solution, and it was also named one of the top 10 5G applications at the 2022 World 5G Convention.

2023 is seeing a new wave of 5G DMN innovations. Huawei, together with China Mobile and China Broadnet, launched an intrinsically-safe 5G DMN solution with upgraded capabilities over that using explosion-proof equipment. The base station equipment in this solution weighs about 70% less, making installation and construction significantly easier. In April 2023, China Mobile Shanxi and Huawei held a promotional event with the theme of “Leading New Mine Infrastructure and Enabling New Intelligent Mines: 5G DMN for Larger Bandwidth, Wider Coverage, Lower Costs, and Full-Range Services” in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province of China, to demonstrate the benefits of using 5G DMNs for the construction of smart coal mines.

Looking ahead, China Mobile and China Broadnet will work with Huawei and other industry partners to promote the development of 5G DMNs by championing technical breakthroughs, standard formulation, industry promotion, and ecosystem construction. Together, they hope to map out the different phases of 5G DMN technical capabilities in the next two to three years. They will also accelerate the construction and implementation of 5G DMNs across China and drive intelligent coal mine construction to help mining enterprises achieve high-quality development and work towards the goal of “fewer people, higher efficiency, and better security” in mines.