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China Mobile’s Feng Zheng: Fully Convergent 5G SA Core Networks Are Efficient and Simple for Expanding New Services and Delivering New Experience

SHANGHAI, July 19, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — At the 5G SA industry roundtable hosted by Huawei on June 27 during MWC Shanghai 2023, Feng Zheng, group-level chief expert of China Mobile, delivered a keynote speech on China Mobile’s experience in 5G SA core network construction and development. In the speech, he stated that building a fully convergent 5G SA network is the optimal choice for maximizing return on investment (ROI).

Feng Zheng, group-level chief expert of China Mobile
Feng Zheng, group-level chief expert of China Mobile

In the past, radio access networks (RANs) and core networks were out of sync with each other in terms of standards development, and 5G was the only technology able to bridge them due to its support for both NSA and SA networking. Practices and statistics show that 5G NSA networking may result in heavy investments in 4G networks. This is because such networking requires both 4G and 5G network coverage, and the deployment of 5G NSA (Option 3) networks relies on 4G networks. 5G NSA networking also requires high network construction costs because of complex collaboration between 4G eNodeBs and 5G gNodeBs, as well as overly intricate network selection for terminals. As such, 5G SA networking, which is now ready for commercial use, is the optimal choice in terms of ROI.

For 5G SA core network construction, a fully convergent core network features simplified networking, efficient O&M, and better experience, and reigns supreme over multiple generations of parallel or overlaid core networks. In terms of simplified networking, one fully convergent core network is connected to RANs of multiple radio access technologies (RATs). One virtual network function (VNF) processes services for users in different radio access modes and shares its resources among these users. This significantly reduces VNFs and interfaces, as well as avoids redundant core network resource allocation for the users in different radio access modes. In terms of efficient O&M, 5G SA networking requires the maintenance of only one convergent core network, instead of multiple core networks. This improves O&M efficiency and reduces O&M workload. And in terms of user experience, signaling between different generations of VNFs is now processed within the same VNF, reducing the interoperability complexity and latency as well as improving users’ service experience.

After network construction is complete, it becomes vital to increase 5G SA users and incubate new services to enable 5G networks to take over more services from 4G networks. To quickly increase 5G SA users, operators need to identify users’ multi-mode terminals and their network online status, in addition to carrying out certain policies. Furthermore, operators can launch attractive 5G SA packages and deliver high-quality service experience to promote the use of the 5G function on 5G SA multi-mode terminals. As such, the rapid development of SA users will stimulate the growth of the ROI of SA networks. To incubate new services, operators should focus on cultivating users’ service usage habits and launch attractive service packages, encouraging users to try new high-quality services offered by service providers. In this way, operators can team up with service providers to improve user experience, accelerate the development of new services, and drive social and economic development. The accelerating growth of new services will help drive up operators’ revenue and build a win-win industry ecosystem.

China Mobile has always actively participated in and promoted the evolution of 3GPP standards towards 5G-Advanced, and will remain committed to exploring new capabilities and new services of 5G-Advanced with all parties in the industry, and spare no efforts to achieve 5G-Advanced.