Today, operators worldwide are exploring 5G's industrial opportunities. Zeng Xiaowen, director of 5G industrial application, China Mobile, shared with us the company's achievements and experience in integrating 5G with various industries at ZTE's 5G Summit & User Congress held in November 2021, which illustrates the strategic success the industry has had so far in the entire 5G ecosystem.
How has China Mobile progressed in integrating 5G with vertical industries so far?
As a leading company in the telecommunications industry, China Mobile has built the world's leading 5G SA network, opened more than 560,000 5G base stations, and developed more than 360 million 5G subscribers. The company has expanded over 1,500 5G private network projects, deployed nine major industry platforms and over 100 5G application scenarios, created 200 5G demonstration projects, and accumulatively signed over 5,000 5G commercial agreements.
China Mobile has implemented the "5G+" plan comprehensively and coordinated with ZTE and other industrial partners to promote the integration and innovation of 5G and AI, IoT, cloud computing, big data and edge (AICDE) as well as other emerging information technologies, enabling 5G to serve the public and integrate into all major industries systematically. In the process of deeply integrating 5G and vertical industries, China Mobile has created many industry-first innovation cases.
We opened the world's highest 5G base station at the 6500-meter elevation camp on Mount Everest to achieve 5G signal coverage of the mountain climbing route and peak of the north slope of Mount Everest.
We installed the deepest 5G base station (808 meters underground) in the Guotun Coal Mine in Heze, Shandong, reducing unsafe positions by 10 persons/shift and reducing inspections by 5-6 kilometers per day.
We enabled the farthest medical treatment. Peking Union Medical College Hospital has implemented remote surgery on patients 3,700 kilometers away in Xinjiang. Involving multiple provinces, it has become a normalized service.
We built the smartest port—the world's largest 5G gantry crane in Mawan Port, Shenzhen, which enables one remote control personnel to control four gantry cranes. In addition, 5G backhaul HD images and AI technology have been used to achieve a recognition rate of more than 95% for damaged boxes.
We helped Zhejiang Hengdian East Magnetics build the smartest factory—a 5G fully connected factory with 320 gateways, 841 machine tools and 206 AGVs for full production line data networking, improving management efficiency and reducing employee numbers by 70%.
5G replication and promotion have entered a new stage from concept to demonstration, from program to product, individuality to replication, exploration to system, and periphery to production.
What progress has China Mobile made in building a 5G private network product system and supporting capabilities?
China Mobile continues to improve the 5G industry capability system. In October 2021, we released the 5G private network product system 2.0. By adding dual-domain connection, computing and network integration as well as active and standby protection, it has enriched the BAF business model (basic network + advanced value-added functions + flexible personalized services). An easy-to-use and user-friendly 5G private network allows the use of it to expand from the peripheral links of enterprise production to the core production links.
China Mobile is committed to building a 5G private network + AI "diamond closed-loop" based on the three (superior/exclusive/privileged) service modes of private network, using network guarantees in large uplink bandwidth and low downlink latency, and combined with edge AI computing capabilities. With it, we can achieve intelligent analysis of enterprise production data, closed-loop processing of local businesses, and build an eco-friendly service network at the edge of the network.
To promote the 5G private network on a large scale, we have promoted the online business process of the entire network and the template for the 5G private network. First, we establish an online support system to facilitate the online intelligence of business processes, create hierarchical SLA levels to ensure the safe and reliable operations of customer businesses, create network digital twin capabilities, and offer industry customers one-stop operating services. The second step is to establish a dedicated network template for different industries, create end-to-end solutions covering pre-sales, in-sales and after-sales, establish a rapid response mechanism, and realize rapid scale expansion.
Based on our self-developed AI computing platform and underlying algorithms with our independent intellectual property rights, we utilize the construction of 5G high-quality private networks to develop 9 "One" platforms bringing together common features for nine key industries, including smart city, smart medical, IoT and smart campus. OnePower Industrial Internet platform has already provided six million label queries to create a fully automated intelligent analysis platform. The Onehealth Smart Medical Cloud Platform is used in more than 300 hospitals to meet the needs of in-hospital, inter-hospital and out-of-hospitals customers.
At the same time, we build a 5G "private network + platform + application + terminal" capability system, break through industry barriers with "platform + ecology", and realize replicable applications and customizable functions. We actively promote the standardization of industry solutions and provide businesses with a one-stop solution of 5G "private network + platform + application + terminal" to help them quickly implement 5G applications.
What are your views on integrating 5G private networks with industry needs?
Today, 5G has entered a critical phase of going from applications of individual industries and scenarios to an overall penetration into the whole process of various industries. In the process of establishing benchmark projects and developing industry demonstrations, China Mobile's 5G industry applications have progressed from fragmented demonstration trials to large-scale applications. China Mobile has started its 5G application scale development road by choosing 18 key industries, including autonomous driving, smart medical care, smart factory, and smart metallurgy. Our short-term goal is to continue to build 200 high-quality demonstration sites this year, and replicating the 5G applications to 2,000 high-quality projects.
What industries can lead the way in 5G scale applications? China Mobile believes that a diamond closed-loop like "5G + AI" is not only a closed loop of capabilities but also a closed loop of screening. If the demand for network capacity in the production chain of an industry can form a "diamond closed-loop" like "5G + AI", that industry can be deeply integrated with 5G and has the possibility of scale replication. For a 5G application to be replicated on a real scale in an industry, the industry must also comply with four requirements: clear typical applications, end-to-end product standards, business model development, and leading role models.
In the innovative exploration of combining 5G private network and vertical industry applications, China Mobile and ZTE have designed a 5G+ smart high-speed railway 2B2C integrated solution and application, solving the issues of weak signal coverage, concurrent congestion and interference delay in high-speed railway application scenarios through the vehicle-mounted small base station solution that increases by 100% the coverage of the 5G signals of moving train sets. The wireless bandwidth capacity can be increased by up to 10 times, allowing passengers to enjoy a high-quality 5G network and colorful Internet applications during the journey.
In the future, China Mobile will further collaborate with industry partners such as ZTE to tackle challenging problems, solve common issues of industry-scale replication, promote replication in different industry categories, jointly promote 5G development and make more and new significant contributions to construct a new Digital China.