China Unicom and Huawei to develop 5G network slicing

23 April 2018 | Natalie Bannerman


Huawei and China Unicom have entered into a joint innovation agreement to collaborate on 5G network slicing.

Under the terms of the agreement, the companies will work together to research and demonstrate the application of 5G network slicing. The project has a particular focus on key technologies and solutions for China Unicom’s 5G network slicing services and applications as well as jointly promote industry chain development, and applying slices to different industry verticals such as VR/AR gaming and the internet of things (IoT).

Speaking about the partnership, Zhang Yong, president of China Unicom network technology research institute, said: "Network slicing is a key native capability of 5G, which can maximize the efficiency of communications networks and reduce network construction and O&M costs. In the 5G era, the concepts of slice as a capability and slice as a product have become an industry consensus. China Unicom will demonstrate the multi-scenario slicing service in vertical industries and deepen the integration with the industry to facilitate digitalization in China.”

The agreement was signed by Yong and He Weijie, vice president of Huawei cloud core network product line, where the two discussed future plans under the new partnership.

Huawei and China Unicom networking slicing photo

"As a key anchor for differentiated network experience and operation, the core network plays a more important role in the 5G network. Huawei’s 5G core network uses the microservice architecture to implement on-demand deployment of 5G slices, agile operation, and SLA assurance. We hope to cooperate with China Unicom to explore new business models based on slices and explore the new business value," added Weijie.

Thanks to Huawei’s concepts of slice-as-a-service and slice-as-a-product, the company says there have been changes to the 5G business model. The two say that 2018 will be the year of 5G commercial use and that many operators are piloting this technology before it goes live commercially and network slicing is the key to this.

“We hope that both parties can focus efforts on terminals, chips, networks, and vertical industries, accelerate the slice demonstration and application, and jointly build a new 5G slicing ecosystem in 2018 and 2019, for the purpose of formulating the 5G blueprint, creating completely new markets for 5G, and achieving a win-win through 5G network deployment," continued Yong.

Earlier this month Huawei announced that it was entering into the blockchain space with its new offering the blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) platform. According to a whitepaper released by the company Huawei if focussing on trialling blockchain across a number of different industries like: supply chain, finance, IoT based logistics, connected cars, carriers cloud network synergy and government data storage. As a result Huawei will create a new blockchain services platform for all of its developers and enterprises that will enable planning, purchase, configuration, development, product launch and O&M.

In related news Huawei is rumoured to be setting its sights on Europe and Asia as the US cracks down the company’s activities.Towards the end of last month Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai, revealed new rules that would bar US telecoms companies from buying equipment using a government subsidy program if the kit is bought from a “company that poses a national security threat”. Speaking on the developments, Hua Chunying, spokesperson of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs , said: “The US restrictions on the China-US high-tech trade and investment activities on the ground of national security from time to time is apparently an act of protectionism under the disguise of national security."