At the 5G Business Dialogue Salon at Mobile World Congress 2023 in Shanghai, Wang Wensheng, General Manager of China Mobile Hangzhou, delivered a speech exploring the innovative practices of 5G Cities.
Hangzhou is considered China Mobile’s leading 5G City, and Wang explained its blueprint for 5G business development in his speech, entitled “5G City: A Digital, Intelligent Future Built on Innovation.”
With a resident population of 12.38 million, Hangzhou is an international metropolis with around 10.63 million mobile phone users, 3 million wired broadband users, and 800,000 gigabit broadband users. Wang notes that since 2018, the number of connected IoT devices in the city has exceeded the number of human customers, and now sits at around 30 million. Average daily traffic volumes are over 9000 TB, placing Hangzhou squarely in the top tier cities in China by this metric alongside Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Beijing and Shanghai.
Broadly, we consider that commercial 5G launched in China in 2019, but Wang noted that Hangzhou began exploring the technology during the 4G era, as early as 2012. With support from China Mobile and Huawei, Hangzhou became China’s ‘first 4G city’, and Wang underlined that this cooperation between the operator and vendor has extended into the 5G era, with the companies launching the world's first 3GPP 5G site in March 2018 and beginning large-scale trial commercial construction in the same year.
Since the first commercial use of 5G in 2019, China Mobile has been at the forefront of Hangzhou's strategic extension from a leading 5G city to a dual 5G city, and then to a ubiquitous gigabit city and a dual 10G city. In the year since, we have seen the world’s largest 5G SA was put into large-scale commercial use in 2020, while the following year Huawei won three mobile network quality awards from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology as well as procuring contracts for the first batch of "gigabit cities". In April 2022, 5G VoNR was launched nationwide, and in the first half of 2023 Hangzhou took the global lead by completing 5G-A rate verification, officially launching the "Double 10 Gigabit City". Hangzhou is also showing strong 5G business development indicators, with over 20,000 5G base stations and 6.3 million 5G customers – a penetration rate of 60% - accounting for 65% of total data traffic.
Wang explained that China Mobile drives leadership across five key areas: networks, technology, operations, applications, and ecosystems. Building core network advantages involves a foundation of planning and moderate advances, allowing the operator to build out ubiquitous 5G gigabit networks to achieve continuous coverage. Multi-band collaboration strengthens the network layout, with networks built across the 700 MHz, 2.6 GHz, and 4.9 GHz bands depending on the population density. Distributed D-MIMO technology is used to improve the overall network performance, and the network uses high- and low-frequency hierarchical networking and distributed micro base stations to reduce indoor and outdoor interference. Additionally, China Mobile was able to achieve parity between urban and rural areas by upgrading 4G D-band equipment and preferentially deploying 5G 700M networks.
Wang also talked up the importance of multi-method collaboration to construct greener networks, using solutions such as base station resource combination, CRAN, and outdoor reconstruction to simplify sites. Deploying power-saving technologies enables a reduction in the energy consumption of 5G sites by 20%, contributing to energy conservation, emission reduction, and low-carbon life.
In terms of technology leadership, innovation is crucial – particularly in the face of a new challenge. This year, Hangzhou will host the Asian Games, and as an official partner, China Mobile worked with Huawei to deploy the world's first flexible self-breathing network in the event venues. The concept of the ‘self-breathing’ network allows for distributed extreme coverage across the various areas of the venue, whether the grandstand, functions area, or distribution area. The network dynamically adjusts the stadium capacity by 1 to 2.4 times, further improving the capacity and ensuring no blind spots, flexible capacity, resource scheduling, and high-quality experience.
Wang discussed the pursuit of the ultimate ubiquitous 5G experience, noting that China Mobile was the first to MetaAAU ultra-large-scale antenna arrays which combine software, hardware, and innovative intelligent algorithms to more accurately direct traffic channel beams to users. The transmit power of the base station is increased by 2 dB, the coverage area is increased by 20%, and the power consumption of the base station is reduced by 20%. Network performance and energy saving are achieved in a unified manner. China Mobile is also deploying three-carrier aggregation (.6G 100M, 2.6G 60M, 4.9G 100M) to improve the network rate. In populous areas such as Hangzhou’s famous West Lake, the operator uses 5G three-carrier aggregation technology to increase the downlink peak rate from 1.6 Gbit/s to 3.8 Gbit/s during the busiest hours of the traffic, more than twice the pre-aggregation period.
China Mobile was also the first to launch 5G standalone (SA) cloud networks and therefore to commercialize the new 5G VoNR call, which achieves ultra-low call latency, ultra-high audio quality, and ultra-HD image quality, bringing users an immersive and interactive new communication experience.
In pursuit of operations leadership, China Mobile is strategizing to increase the proportion of 5G traffic on its network by focusing on the three key elements of "machine, suite, and network". The operator aims to expand 5G users, strengthen 5G services, and enhance 5G camping, giving equal importance to quantity and quality to accelerate 5G development. By analyzing network login rates, traffic growth and residence ratios, China Mobile has been able to develop a 5G distribution map covering Hangzhou and enabling it to identify weaker coverage areas to focus on increasing the proportion of 5G traffic.
In terms of leading applications, China Mobile uses 5G+ to enable economic and social transformation across industries. The operator is accelerating the construction of a new information service system to allow traditional industries to re-create digital intelligence. Based on its 5G+ network computing capabilities, China Mobile has built an application benchmark covering various fields in Hangzhou. In the 5G+ industry field, China Mobile is working with Geely Automobile, Zhongce Rubber, and Boss Electrical Appliances to jointly promote the construction of 5G fully connected factories and future factories. In the field of 5G+ medical treatment, the operator has joined forces with Zhejiang University Affiliated Hospital to create the first 5G pre-hospital emergency system integrated with air, water and land in China, and the 5G digital neurosurgery aerial operating room for the Asian Games. In the 5G+ education field, China Mobile has signed 5G strategic cooperation agreements with more than 10 universities, including Zhejiang University, and took the lead in deploying the first batch of 5G dual-domain private networks in Zhejiang University and Zhejiang University City College. The dedicated campus security network based on "5G + edge computing" directly crosses traditional complex processes such as VPN dial-up, enabling teachers and students to access intranet resources more quickly and securely. The Hangzhou Asian Games will be held in September, and as the official partner, China Mobile has participated in the creation of the Smart Asian Games Gold Card which has multiple application innovations, including 5G new calls, 5G+8K live broadcast, and Metacosmic venues. The 5G Smart Venues event also won the first prize in the finals of the Global Internet Competition.
As early as 2018, China Mobile launched the regional 5G industry alliance to jointly unveil Hangzhou's "5G City”, signing 5G strategic cooperation contracts with all 13 district, county (city) governments in Hangzhou, 10 leading enterprises in the industry, and 20 small towns with special characteristics. The operator aims to build a new 5G ecosystem featuring resource sharing, ecological symbiosis, mutual benefit and win-win development in an all-round way. It has established three innovation bases are the China Mobile 5G Joint Innovation Center, China (Hangzhou) 5G Innovation Park, and China (Hangzhou) 5G Innovation Valley, which are oriented to enterprises in the upstream and downstream of the industry chain to jointly promote 5G information sharing, industry exchange, and marketing. Additionally, the operator aims to develop nine industry platform capabilities, including industrial Internet, smart city, and 5G private network operation, and comprehensively enable application innovation.
In the industry field, Hangzhou Mobile is focusing on incubating three emerging industries: the People's Federation, the IoT Federation and the Vehicle Federation.
For the People's Federation, the operator is promoting the upgrade of audio-visual experience from 2D to 3D immersive interactive experience. As the Asian Games approach, the operator has launched cloud games based on 10G technology in support of the competition, offering naked-eye 3D experiences and immersive, exciting, and interactive meta-universe experiences.
In terms of the IoT industry, the operator has completed the commercial use of the RedCap technology in collaboration with the smart power and smart security industries. The Smart Power pilot conducted with Huawei is the world's first end-to-end commercial use of the RedCap technology in the 5G+electric power scenario. The test results prove that RedCap is expected to become the standard configuration for power wireless business; in the future, we will explore commercial scenarios of passive IoT technologies in smart warehousing and smart logistics, and further lead industry standards and product definitions.
In terms of the car industry, combined with the Asian Games, Hangzhou Mobile has built a 5G-A Asian Games boutique experience circle with synaesthesia capabilities, highlighting the application of the car "black technology" in the intelligent Asian Games field. Based on the 5G-A synaesthesia convergence technology, we will incubate benchmark applications related to smart transportation for the intelligent connected automobile industry in the future, improve transportation efficiency, and accelerate the development of the IoV industry.
Facing the future, Hangzhou Mobile will continue to work with industry partners to innovate and jointly light up the "double 10 trillion city". The operator has completed the technical verification of 5G-A and F5G-A and is carrying out the "dual 10GE" capability building for wireless and wired networks.