One “If the 5G era does not come, we will do nothing”
The popularity of 5G commercial use on the hustle and bustle is growing faster and faster. Within a year, 5G licenses have been issued and formal commercial launch has been completed. In other words, the era of 5G commercial access for everyone has theoretically become may.
“Best times”, “5G is the most ambitious technological revolution in history, it is to make every stone accessible to the Internet”-industry insiders can not but use this to describe the arrival of 5G.
“After the 5G industry has been driven, this unit is trillion yuan, and its indirect output will be much higher than the direct output, because it will be difficult to imagine the economic scale of driving some surrounding industries.” At a 5G themed salon, Zhong Baoxing, the head of Ziguang Zhanrui ’s consumer electronics planning department, said that in his opinion, the application of 5G + AI will bring about a series of industries (vertical industries) intelligent revolution.
“China’s 5G is actually in a very first-mover stage. We believe that 5G will be the commanding heights of the next round of information technology revolution. In this process, each country will carry out technically positive competition, which country If you can win, you can export to the global standards and lead the relevant industries. “Said Wang Xiaoyan, senior investment manager of Jiuhe Venture Capital.” China has always been in the leading position in the entire 5G technology reserve and related product research and development. “
Back to reality, the 5G era should have a beautiful vision, depending on the progress of infrastructure construction, and this burden is placed on the shoulders of network operators, carrying various expectations, and operators are also sprinting. .
“Since Beijing’s first 5G site in August last year (2018), we have been working overtime. At the beginning of this year, 5G construction accelerated, and we basically did not leave on Saturdays, and sometimes we have to work overtime on Sundays. “Li Shuang (pseudonym), an employee of China Tower, who is responsible for the survey and design and construction of 5G sites in Beijing, told the reporter of” Houchangcun 7 “.
In Li Shuang’s opinion, the construction of 5G base stations is proceeding steadily in accordance with the plan, and even some places have achieved excessive completion.
According to the official statement, by the end of this year, more than 130,000 5G base stations will be opened nationwide. Some people in the industry also expect that in the 5-7 year investment cycle, China will gradually invest about 1.4 trillion yuan in funds for 5G network construction.
For the operators involved, the pressure and anxiety, questions and contradictions that need to be overcome to pave the way for such a technological change and leadership in the history of communications.
Consumers have problems and doubts about service content such as network speed and tariffs, equipment vendors have urged to accelerate infrastructure construction, and industry players have the desire to connect as soon as possible. Operators themselves, while fully implementing the 5G strategy, also have Careful consideration of high cost investments and return on income.
Based on the above, judging from the current situation of 5G landing, the actual tempo still cannot keep up with imagination.
“I think the upgrade of the infrastructure still has a long way to go, and we look forward to better coverage of 4G and 5G,” said Huang Lin, technical director of the 360 Institute of Security Research. According to her knowledge, it is the most active In Zhuhai, Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, real-time remote signal transmission is still not available in some convenient locations. The factory sells equipment and cannot be remotely connected for debugging. “In such a developed area, this place has particularly poor 4G coverage, even remote No desktop connection is supported. “
“Don’t expect too much from 5G, it will take time to mature.” On November 23, at the 5G + sub-forum of Netease Future Conference 2019, Wang Xiao, founder of Jiuhe Ventures, bluntly stated that 5G may be subject to various short-term challenges. Challenge, he expects to “much better” in two or three years.
For some industry players, if they want to achieve development, it is unimaginable without 5G, which is the basis for their survival.
“The first year of VR, the first year of VR applications, the first year of large-scale VR outbreaks, the first year that VR has really entered our lives. So far, we have been around for six or seven years, and we have never entered everyone’s Life. “Liu Tiancheng, CEO of Guanjie Technology, said he was” embarrassed. ” In 2016, they partnered with CCTV to VR the CCTV Spring Festival Gala. Many people asked if they were incapable. Why can’t they do live broadcasting? He told people that it’s not that they can’t do it, but because of the low bandwidth and large delay, the live broadcast is not synchronized and cannot be transmitted.
“In a nutshell, what VR may lack at present is a transmission network with high bandwidth and low latency.” As the main players in the VR industry, they are looking forward to 5G. “We are betting. What are we betting on? The era can come. Because the amount of data in the MESH stream is much larger than ordinary video. If the 5G era is not coming, we will do nothing. “
“The government attaches great importance to 5G because it is a social 5G, not an operator’s 5G. The investment is relatively large, but it is also difficult.” An operator person admitted to the reporter of “Houchang Village 7”, despite the policy support, They are all doing their best, but they did encounter some difficulties during the process. The current 5G process is both an opportunity and a challenge for them.
On the one hand, the number of operators will increase exponentially. They can cooperate with various industry players to provide network services and integrator services. The revenue model will change. On the other hand, network traffic is getting cheaper and cheaper. In the context of a policy to reduce tariffs, it is necessary to invest so much money to build a 5G network without increasing revenue from traffic.
For the application of 5G and 5G, Jiuhe Venture Capital Wang Xiaoyan said that there is a logic behind this. Forcing the promotion of 5G, including industry entities, is actually an effort by operators in order to recover costs, even if it is Subsidies for some pilots. Once the pilot is successful, after de-scaled replication, it may generate some new charging models to cover the cost of network construction.
For the promotion of 5G strategy, many relationship items need to be further sorted out. According to “Houchangcun No. 7”, the operator of the optical network needs to pass through many barriers to move forward.
Two “To say that lack of money, that’s true”
At the Beijing International Convention Center on October 31, the atmosphere of the 2019 China International Information and Communication Exhibition was hot. The opening ceremony was less than 9 o’clock on the day. The main venue that can accommodate 1,000 people was already leaking, and manufacturers, media and audiences could not squeeze in. You can only “watch” in front of the live broadcast screen on the third floor.
It is no exaggeration to say that this is a historic node in the evolution of communication technology. On the same day, the leaders of the three major communications operators and the Chairman of China Tower gathered together to announce the 5G tariff package and held a 5G commercial launching ceremony.
“Of course, the operators are very active. If they are not active, this is the order given above. Enterprises are responsible.” When asked about the construction of 5G networks, the staff of the participating operators stated this.
According to him, both the issuance of 5G licenses and the launch of commercial packages have come faster than expected.
“I probably knew that the license would be issued one day in advance, because I received the task: to go to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to report on June 6.” Jia Fang, a media person who has been in the communications industry for more than ten years, has experienced 3G and 4G licenses (Pseudonym) to “Houchangcun 7” reporter, “Although the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has already hinted that the license is about to be issued, it is quite sudden.”
According to the original plan, China’s 5G network will be piloted in 2018, pre-commercialized in 2019, and officially commercialized in 2020. Judging from actual actions, China’s 5G license issuance and formal commercialization are ahead of this plan.
“The construction of 5G networks is a global trend. After experiencing the backward and parallel running of previous generations of mobile communication technology, China has continued to innovate in the era of 5G and has already taken the lead in the world.” CCID Consulting’s information and communication industry Li Yan, senior consultant of the research center, said so.
According to a 5G patent report issued by the German patent information company IPlytics at the end of last year, China has 36% of the world’s 5G standard essential patents, which is more than double the proportion of Chinese companies in 4G patents.
“The dividends brought by the continuous development of China’s technology and the market demand are gradually being released. Multiple reasons have created a rapid situation for 5G construction.” Li Yan analyzed.
Chen Gong, who is in the Telecommunication Research Institute of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said that the early issuance of 5G licenses means that the industry must accelerate and stimulate the construction of 5G ecology.
The report released by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology shows that in the five years from 2020 to 2025, domestic 5G investment will reach 900 to 1.5 trillion yuan, which will bring 10.6 trillion economic output and 3 million jobs, driving China The digital economy grew by 15.2 trillion yuan.
But operators have something to say.
“To say that (building 5G) is short of money, that’s true.” Some operators responsible for network planning said.
The operator’s financial report shows that China Telecom expects capital expenditure of 78 billion yuan in 2019, of which the investment budget for 5G network construction is 9 billion yuan; China Unicom’s capital expenditure is expected to be 58 billion yuan and 6 billion to 8 billion for 5G networks Construction; and China Mobile plans to complete 50,000 to 50,000 5G base stations in 2019, and 5G investment is about 17.2 billion yuan.
The sum of the capital for the 5G construction of the three major operators is less than 50 billion yuan, and public opinion uses caution to describe the performance of operators in 5G investment (according to Xinhua News Agency).
Judging from the law of 4G network construction, after the license was issued in 2013, China Mobile started the large-scale deployment of 4G networks. In 2014 alone, it invested more than 80 billion yuan.
“The vicious competition introduced by the perennial market share assessment and the requirements for speed reduction and fee reduction in the past two years have led to slow revenue growth and a decline in net profit in recent years. Moreover, the 4G network has been in a state of not increasing revenue for a long time. Expansion costs are rising again … “Speaking of the current situation, Guo Liang (a pseudonym), an operator who has been responsible for wireless network optimization, said,” Our 4G data traffic increased by 60% -80%, but revenue did not increase. “Because speeding up and reducing fees, traffic is getting cheaper. Operators can only increase incrementally without increasing revenue.”
At the seminar on speed and fee reduction held by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in July this year, Shou Jianguo, deputy general manager of China Mobile ’s marketing department, mentioned that China Mobile accumulatively accumulatively paid 202.6 billion yuan. In terms of fee reduction, China Mobile ’s mobile Internet access unit price The cumulative decline was 91.5%. The maximum international direct-dial tariff dropped by more than 90%. The average unit price of international roaming traffic dropped by more than 80% compared to 2015.
On October 21, 2019, China Mobile released unaudited main operating data for the first three quarters, in which operating revenue and profit both declined, with decline rates of 0.2% and 13.9%, respectively. This is not the first double decline of China Mobile.
“Issuing a 5G license at this point in time, although there are national strategic development considerations, but the operator has not seen the possibility of an actual increase in business revenue. Instead, it needs to invest a lot of money to build a new network. Incremental income will be formed within the year, and operators will face the possibility of further decline in net profit.
According to the interview of “Houchangcun No. 7”, the construction of a base station cost at least 200,000 yuan, which is only the equipment purchase. It is a large amount of money.
Li Yan analysis: “In terms of funding, the initial investment in 5G network deployment is greater than 4G. Due to the different networking methods, 5G uses Massive MIMO large-scale antenna arrays that have more antennas than 4G antennas, plus greater power consumption. The base station is deployed as a macro base station and a small base station, so it has a higher cost. The number of base stations is expected to be about 1.1-1.5 times that of 4G, and the corresponding cost will increase proportionally. “
According to an interview with reporters from “Houchang Village No. 7” at the grassroots level, the current 5G advancement is led by governments at all levels, and operators are responding and following up with the policy baton.
“(Investment funds) are from the operator, regardless of the country. We are a listed company, and the finance will not support a listed state-owned enterprise.” The operator said. 5G itself is a policy-oriented. State-owned network operators have both social and public welfare attributes. Unlike foreign operators, the word for profit is in the first place. In remote places, the economy is not good, the signal is not good, and they will not start business. China Operators have the responsibility to close the digital divide and narrow the gap between urban and rural areas. While considering investment returns, they must keep up with the pace of policy.
Operators also realize that if they want to further increase revenue, they must go deep into 5G business innovation in various industries and provide various vertical network platforms and integration services. “Houchang Village No. 7” reporter noticed that in the eastern coastal developed provinces, some operators have launched more targeted “5G +” services with industry players in areas such as smart parks, smart healthcare, aviation, power grids, campuses, and automobiles. Custom services. In their own words, it is “cooperating with industry chain partners to create a series of benchmarking applications.”
“Although 5G has been commercialized, killer applications have not yet appeared,” said Guo Liang (a pseudonym), a network planner of the operator. “Therefore, we can only understand 5G as 5G is the future and 4G is the rice bowl.”
The implication is that the 4G rice bowl has to be steadily present. As for investing in 5G, it is investing in the future. Although it is difficult to recover the benefits for the time being, it is paving the way for the future market.
Huang Lin, Technical Director of 360 Company Security Research Institute said, “We also look forward to finding a win-win business model among traditional enterprises, operators and Internet companies, instead of the 4G era. Everyone feels that operators do not make money and make money. It’s a model like Douyin and WeChat. We hope that in the era of 5G, everyone can win.
Facing the trillion-dollar construction cost of 5G, operators are also cooperating to cope with it. On September 9, this year, China Unicom and China Telecom signed the 5G Network Co-construction and Sharing Framework Cooperation Agreement. The two operators allocated the government Different 5G frequencies to build an access network together.
“Because the allocated frequency bands are adjacent, a set of access network equipment can be shared, and the cooperation between the two can reduce costs.” Li Yan explained to “Houchang Village No. 7”.
At this year’s China Unicom interim results conference, Unicom chairman Wang Xiaochu also said that joint construction and sharing can save each operator 200 billion yuan in capital expenditure.
But during the construction process, some stumbling blocks are waiting.
One of the obstacles: high electricity bills
On October 31, before the three major operators announced the official commercialization of 5G, the chairman of China Mobile is still communicating to the outside world that 5G development still has many problems with card necks, and everyone needs to work hard to solve them.
One of the problems with this card neck is the electricity bill.
“You should ask the tower about the electricity bill. They are responsible for the construction of the base station and receive electricity from the operator. Every time they ask the operator for money, the operator will doubt whether the tower has moved anything. “Said a participant at the 2019 International Telecommunications Exhibition.
Guo Liang told “Houchang Village No. 7” that electricity charges are a heavy cost for operators and may also be an important obstacle to 5G scale development.
It is understood that the reason why the power consumption of 5G base stations is astonishing is that on the one hand, a large-scale antenna array using Massive MIMO has more antennas than 4G antennas, which increases the demand for power; on the other hand, the transmission rate of 5G is doubled. 5G base stations will process massive amounts of data and computing power consumption will continue to increase.
In addition, 5G uses higher frequency bands than 4G. As we all know, the higher the frequency band, the smaller the signal coverage. 5G coverage has been reduced from 4G kilometers to 100 meters, and the range is 1/10 smaller. If you want to achieve the same area coverage, the number of 5G base stations will be 2-3 times that of 4G. Just bigger. Li Yan said, “At present, the cost of electricity for a 4G base station for one year is about 12,000 yuan.”
Operators revealed that 5G base stations consume three times as much power as 4G base stations. In some places, after the base station is built, in order to save costs without letting the base station idle, operators will take measures to power off the built base station.
China Tower, which was born for sharing, has already received a demand from operators for the construction of 100,000 5G base stations. “According to preliminary estimates, the electricity charges generated after the opening of the 100,000 5G site will be several times the rent of the tower.” The tower said.
In terms of high power consumption, on the one hand, operators and equipment manufacturers are looking for technological breakthroughs to reduce power consumption; on the other hand, they also need to find other ways to reduce the burden of electricity costs, such as changing the operator’s power supply from direct power to direct power.
According to the IT Times report, the base stations on the factory buildings in the industrial zone cannot connect to the direct power supply of the power supply department, and can only connect to the owner’s transfer power supply. Generally, the cost of direct power supply is 0.9 yuan / degree-1 yuan / degree. The cost is as high as 1.3 yuan / degree, and the price increase rate is 30% -40%.
It is understood that some provinces have introduced relevant policies, 5G base station conversion to direct power supply, reducing electricity costs, accelerating the development of 5G industry, and even giving operators macro base stations to varying degrees of subsidy support.
Stopper Rover II: Difficult Location
It is a common topic for communication base stations to be difficult to choose. In the 5G era, due to the dense coverage of base stations and greater power consumption, the contradiction of 5G base station location has become more prominent.
The director of China Tower Communications Technology Research Institute Dou Yan once said that in the current key stages of 5G centralized construction and some key construction projects, there are prominent problems such as difficulty in site selection, access difficulties, high coordination fees and rental fees.
Li Shuang (pseudonym), an iron tower employee responsible for the survey and design and construction of 5G sites in Beijing, has been busy dealing with properties, owners, and operators since August and September last year.
“5G needs to add a separate antenna, the equipment is heavier than the original 4G, and there is more demand for poles and power. Our towers are now co-constructed and shared, and the different needs of the three major operators need to be integrated “Li Shuang described to” Houchangcun No. 7 “,” After integrating the operator’s needs, we still have to communicate with the owner, then go to the site survey, develop a design plan, and then communicate the cost issues with the owner before entering. construction stage.”
Li Shuang spent most of his time communicating with the owners. In the early stage of 5G construction, many owners did not have much concept of 5G. Li Shuang also needed to tell them a good 5G story and tell the other party that this is not a pure operator’s business behavior, but a national strategic development. It is hoped that the owners will change their concepts.
Occasionally, landlords and property owners quarrel with each other because of rents, which will lead to a two-day construction, and the initial communication took 2 months. China Railway Tower Beijing Branch encountered this situation when replacing the original 4G machine room on the roof of the new Zhongguan Building in the central area of Haidian District: Zhongguancun West District.
As the top floors of the new Zhongguan building were bought by a Hong Kong owner, the owner claimed that as long as the communication equipment is placed on the roof, the tower company must pay the rent directly to their own hands. The problem of the property company is also involved. After layers of negotiations, construction finally took place.
“In such a situation, not only a new building in Zhongguan, more and more sites have problems of unclear ownership and property rights of the owners, but also brought some trouble to the site coordination of the Tower Company.”
“There are also individual owners or individual units that demand high fees, or refuse to enter because of radiation.” Operators also had similar experiences. Guo Liang told “Houchang Village No. 7”, “Some owners open their mouths Hundreds of thousands, this is purely 5G as an opportunity to make money, and the price is sky-high. “
Dou Yi, the dean of China Tower Communications Technology Research Institute, suggested that the requirements for the opening of public infrastructure should be further clarified, and building infrastructure construction standards should be issued. Newly built, renovated (expanded) buildings, municipal roads, comprehensive pipeline networks, and large-scale projects in various places should be established. Projects, etc., should have relevant specifications for supporting communication infrastructure in the design link of construction drawings, the submission of construction drawings of the construction unit, and the acceptance check of completion.
When necessary, the government must come forward to advance the work. Guo Liang said, “Now the government has given great support and has issued red header documents many times to solve the problem of difficult site selection. Holding red header documents to communicate has much better results.”
It is understood that in order to solve the 5G planning and construction problem, Hubei Province signed more than 30 strategic agreements with Hubei Tower Company and more than 250 red-headed documents, solving more than 1,600 site selection problems.
Smooth the internet speed first, and then talk about other
“China Speed” is also reflected in the construction of 5G networks. According to the latest data released by the operator, 86,000 5G base stations have been opened nationwide, and the four major cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hangzhou have even achieved continuous coverage of 5G networks. According to statistics, in just two months, the 5G subscription users of the three major operators exceeded 10 million.
But the Internet is also full of complaints from netizens: Why can’t I experience the 5G speed of the promotion? Why is there a 5G signal but only 4G speed …
According to the 5G peak rate requirements, to achieve 20Gbps download and 10Gpbs upload, the delay is reduced to less than 1 millisecond.
“5G is too much of concern in China, and we need to reduce the fire. I think everyone overestimated 5G in a short time, but underestimated 5G in a long time.” Chen Gong (a pseudonym), deputy chief engineer of the Telecommunications Research Institute of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said .
“The network construction itself has its own rules. It must be covered by hotspots first, and then more widely. It is impossible to enter the 5G era as a whole.”
Shen Shaoai, a consultant of China Telecom Technology Innovation Department, also revealed at the 2019 Netease Future Conference that the current 5G network layout is not universal enough. The three operators have deployed in some key areas. If consumers want to try something new, they can only wait in Hangzhou. Only in the big city’s convention and exhibition center or CBD area will there be a new experience. After that, the network will be covered in major cities year by year to enhance people’s opportunities to use 5G.
As for the display of 5G signals on mobile phones, the network speed is a problem of 4G. Guo Liang analyzed “Houchangcun No. 7”. There is a concept of “anchor”.
Anchor point is relative to NSA network construction. In the initial stage of network construction, in order to quickly deploy 5G networks, operators adopted the NSA networking model, that is, the 5G access network was built on the wireless side, but on the core side. The 4G core network is still used. This networking method requires that a 5G terminal access the 4G wireless network to log in to 5G as an anchor point.
“At present in some areas, because the anchor point is not set properly, NSA mobile phones cannot log in to 5G normally, so they can only experience the 4G rate.” Guo Liang explained.
In addition, according to “Houchangcun 7” interview, we learned that there are two 5G frequency bands for China Mobile, the largest operator in China: one is 2.6KMHz, and the other is 4.9KMHz. At present, China Mobile mainly deploys 5G networks at 2.6KMHz. Among them, the country allocated a bandwidth of 160Mhz to China Mobile. This 160M bandwidth is a frequency band common to 4G and 5G. Because 5G deployment in some areas interferes with the two frequency points of 4G, 4G network services are busy, and 5G networks are basically empty. Now, although this interference has a limited impact on 4G, it has a very large impact on 5G, causing the 5G rate to fall short of expectations.
However, the operator who was interviewed also told “Houchang Village No. 7” that these two issues are continuously being optimized, especially after the re-cultivation of the 2600MHz frequency band is completed. The 5G rate without interference is possible. Guaranteed.
In this context, it is unlikely that the promotion of 5G industrialization will have an excessively high speed. Wu Gansha, the founder of Yuse Technology, a driverless technology company, told reporters in Houchang Village No. 7 that many people currently have some misunderstandings about the timetable and rules of 5G’s commercialization. The difference between 5G and 4G is that “It’s not rolled out all at once, it’s applied from point to line and then to face.”
“Our mobile communication network can never achieve machine-to-machine coverage. There are always places with good coverage and places with poor coverage. 5G cannot escape this. There are places near the base station, there are places far from the base station, and there are shelters. The speed of the network is fluctuating, so there are always good and bad. The only way is to raise it up the whole level. The worst places can also meet the high-quality transmission. “Shen Jia, OPPO 5G expert, said that 5G The outbreak of the application is not to have a new business at first, but to satisfy everyone with a difference in use experience. Just like 3G to 4G, people originally felt that the Internet was slow, but later they felt that the Internet was fast. Based on this, only after With the emergence of short video applications, he believes that the first thing that needs to be achieved is “next year, maybe next year or two, and our existing business can be used more smoothly” before we can talk about other application explosions. And business innovation forecasting issues.
In this case, it is not without challenges to grasp the investment of Fengkou. Hu Weiqi, Vice President of Huawei Cloud China, told the attendees at the 2019 NetEase Future Conference that they must be full of expectations and aspirations for new things such as 5G, and at the same time “keep a certain calmness and objectivity.” Considering the issue of time, it is not appropriate to be too early or too late. Entering too early will become a martyr, and entering too late will only become a follower. As for what is just the right time, she said, “Everyone has their own judgments”, provided that “you see your opportunities clearly and prepare yourself.”