China Telecom and China Unicom make the world’s largest scale RAN sharing network into reality - Mobile World Live

China Telecom and China Unicom make the world’s largest scale RAN sharing network into reality

05 MAR 2020

PARTNER FEATURE: To carry out the new development concept of “innovation, coordination, green, openness, and sharing”, and accelerate the construction of a nationwide 5G network with state-of-the-art technologies, high-quality, efficient operation, and global leadership, China Telecom and China Unicom have innovatively proposed to cooperate to build a 5G access network nationwide, which facilitates the rapid construction of a 5G network with wide coverage, excellent technology, low investment, good perception, and good experience.

China Telecom and China Unicom’s new model of network sharing and co-construction: different district construction, network sharing, leading technologies, and experience guarantee  

China Unicom and China Telecom will maximize their respective resources through network sharing and co-construction. Firstly, China Unicom and China Telecom’s 5G frequency bands are adjacent, only one set of equipment is needed to achieve 5G coverage. Secondly, the resources of the two companies are highly complementary in different regions of north China and south China. By building a nationwide 5G access network through cooperation, 5G network coverage can be efficiently achieved and 5G service capabilities can be quickly established. In the meantime, network co-construction will also provide useful reference for the cooperation of other operators worldwide.

Network sharing and co-construction will be promoted step by step. In the early stage, China Telecom and China Unicom will adopt the strategy of wireless sharing, carrier network interworking and core network independent of each other. Since SA terminal is not mature, in 2019, network sharing and co-construction under NSA network architecture is adopted. Starting from 2020, with gradual maturity of NSA/SA dual-mode terminal and 5GC core network, China Telecom and China Unicom will turn to network sharing and co-construction under SA network architecture, and introduce new technologies such as carrier aggregation, dynamic spectrum sharing, and collaboration between TDD and FDD in SA evolution to ensure network leadership. Finally, China Telecom and China Unicom will build an end-to-end controllable 5G shared network with respective operation, effective monitoring, perceptual guarantee and business satisfaction.

Behind the beautiful vision of co-construction and sharing, there are higher requirements for equipment performance: ultra-broadband, high-power, transforming 4G frequency bands to 5G, etc. Facing a series of problems for equipment manufacturers, ZTE launched a full range of 5G products to support operators’ network sharing and co-construction.

ZTE’s network sharing and co-construction advantages: ultra-broadband, DSS, time frequency dual aggregation

According to the “5G Network Co-construction and Sharing Framework Cooperation Agreement” reached by China Telecom and China Unicom, the two parties will jointly construct and share the 200MHz 5G band (3400MHz-3600MHz) at 3.5GHz, and share 2.1GHz frequency for 4G networks. With the gradual advancement of 5G networks, spectrum re-cultivation will be an inevitable choice.

In response to the need of wider bandwidth coverage, ZTE has upgraded a full range of existing equipment. Firstly, in the 3.5GHz frequency band, a 200M wide-bandwidth, 320W high-power 64TR high-performance AAU is introduced. Secondly, a 2.1GHz 4TR RRU for remote areas has been introduced, with working bandwidth exceeding 50M. Other equipment, such as 8TR equipment suitable for high-speed rail, 4TR equipment suitable for blind and hot spot areas, and intelligent indoor equipment, have upgraded their operating bandwidth from 100M to 200M in the 3.5G frequency band, and the transmission power has been further improved.

To meet the 4G/5G spectrum sharing needs, ZTE has introduced DSS in FDD band, which is the dynamic sharing of 4G/5G spectrum. When there is a margin in LTE, NR is dynamically introduced, by upgrading the software of existing network equipment, FDD spectrum can be transformed to ensure a smooth transition from 4G to 5G. In addition, ZTE also broke TDD and FDD duplex modes, added time domain dimension, worked with China Telecom to implement the industry’s first time-frequency dual aggregation solution, realized 4 G/5G fully aggregation in the frequency and time domains, making the spectrum more efficient. The verification results showed that: in a good channel environment, the single user uplink rate can be increased by up to 40% compared to the 3.5GHz single carrier when using time division multiplexing CA and the maximum improvement can be up to 60% when using concurrent CA. At the same time, by using high and low frequency aggregation, the user downlink rate of the two schemes can be increased by 20% compared to the 3.5GHz single carrier.

Hangzhou becomes the first network sharing and co-construction test field with outstanding results

Along with the advancement of network sharing and co-construction, ZTE responded quickly and launched the world’s first 1.8G/2.1G/3.5G NSA network sharing and co-construction commercial site in Hangzhou with China Telecom and China Unicom, and took the lead in building real 5G commercial environment. The network capacity verification under the shared co-construction mode has actually measured a single user peak rate of 1.8Gbps and a drive test average rate of 1Gbps, which fully verifies that the existing 5G base stations have commercial capabilities for large-scale co-construction and network sharing.

Quick response and excellent test results were supported by ZTE’s strong technical capabilities and reserves: ZTE has a deep accumulation of proprietary chips for communication equipment. The third-generation baseband and digital IF chips have achieved 7NM mass production and ZTE has started the pre-research of 5NM chip. In addition, ZTE is at the forefront of the industry in terms of dielectric filters, miniaturized antennas, and gallium nitride power amplifiers, ensuring the full competitiveness of 5G equipment. Finally, ZTE has platforms such as system simulation, link simulation, and performance optimization algorithms to ensure a better overall 5G system performance with quick response to various challenges in 5G commercial deployment.

At present, ZTE equipment which meets the high standards of network co-construction and sharing has been used in China Telecom and China Unicom’s 5G Phase 2 test, and will be applied in 5G Phase 2 construction, In 2020, ZTE’s full range of equipment will fully meet the evolution requirement to the ultimate 5G SA network target.

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