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Leveraging 5G, Network Slicing and MEC to Real-World Services and True Business Value

In late 2019, China Telecom announced a new 5G network slicing project trial in China that will be focused on the promise and potential of enterprise and industrial applications. This experiment will ultimately lead to the first 5G smart factory, which will then be used as an example and prototype for future 5G use.  As 5G’s higher speeds and lower latencies enable numerous new applications from the IoT to the manufacturing floor, the rise of specialty applications comes a need for network slicing, which allows for dedicated individual “slices” of the network for IoT and Industrial Internet services.

5G is going to change how companies work, and will provide new ways of leveraging real-time data to derive business value.  The impact of 5G will be pervasive globally.  In fact, the GSMA predicts that 5G will account for almost half of China’s overall mobile connections by 2025, with other markets such as Japan, South Korea and the US having similar rates of adoption.

China Telecom has been at the forefront of exploring what can be achieved through 5G.  As part of this commitment we have publicly stated that we expect to have access to 300,000 5G base stations by the end of 2020.  This is five times the number we had live at the end of 2019.  Clearly, we expect 5G, and network slicing as part of it, to grow considerably.  And we aren’t alone.  Industry analyst firm, Global Market Insights, recently predicted that the market for Network Slicing will experience a growth rate of as much as 15% from now until 2026.

We are presently working with technology partners and the ETSI to explore standards and specifications for deploying network slicing in MEC-enabled 5G networks.  To ensure our customers will be able to truly experience what will be possible, we have been focused on conducting trials at manufacturing facilities across China to demonstrate the true power of 5G network slice with Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC), a network architecture concept that enables cloud computing capabilities and an IT service environment at the edge of the cellular network.

This is critical because we understand that each application and service have different requirements for bandwidth capacity, speed and latency. The only common requirement is availability, 100% is the expectation. Think about a service such as connected cars.   According to ABI Research, there will be 41 million 5G connected cars on the road by 2030.  We understand that this type of application will require a much different service profile than what is needed to enable reading of smart meters.   Some may require ultra-low latency, others may require high bandwidth, and the ability for us to deliver exactly what each service needs is made possible by our ability to slice network capacity across the control, data and management plane.

To provide our customers with the low-latency required by the Industrial Internet we will be deploying MEC at the edge of our network globally, which will allow enterprises to leverage the network like never before.

Some of the many real-world applications that we are working to deliver to our customers, with the help of our technology partners include:

  • 5G for Smart Grid
  • Flexible Smart Manufacturing with5G Edge Computing
  • 5G Intelligent Connected Vehicle
  • Aircraft Surface Inspection
  • Heavy Industry 5G and Smart Manufacturing

We are truly just beginning to scratch the surface in terms of what 5G can deliver and from what we can see the opportunities are endless.  If your business is ready to benefit from the power and potential of 5G please let us know, we’d love to share our experiences working with some of the world’s largest companies.