Focus on operators 5G station gathering: only when a hundred flowers bloom can spring scenery fill the garden

2022-05-22 0 By

The industry’s eagerly awaited pre-acquisition test of 5G expansion stations (base stations) will soon start.On January 7, China Telecom decided to launch the 2022 China Telecom 5G extended small base station equipment technology test, and the test results will be used for the centralized procurement of extended small base station products.In fact, not only China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom have also started the relevant work, an industry feast about the small base station is about to open the curtain.With the rapid landing of millions of 5G macro stations, especially 700M 5G network construction, China has basically completed the outdoor continuous COVERAGE of 5G. Indoor coverage and deep coverage have become the new trend of 5G network development, and the demand for small base stations has become more clear and urgent.For the three operators, the result of this round of 5G extended station intensive procurement is related to all manufacturers in the industrial chain, and will basically set the direction and pattern of the future development of the domestic small station industry.The author believes that with the continuous evolution and development of small base station ecology, absolute technical barriers no longer exist in the vast majority of application scenarios, and the market pattern similar to “a hundred flowers bloom” at the transmission end may be more in line with the direction of industrial development.The key to this round of 5G extended station collective acquisition lies in “balance”. Operators should create a more cost-effective network construction mode that takes into account both performance and cost from the perspective of industrial ecological cultivation.In the selection of suppliers, the “balance” between traditional equipment manufacturers and new industry players should be realized.In terms of product architecture selection, the “balance” between traditional vertically integrated architecture and open cloud architecture will be achieved.Since the issuance of 5G licenses more than two years ago, China has built more than 1.4 million 5G base stations, basically solving the continuous coverage of outdoor and indoor shallow coverage. Continuous expansion and improvement of network coverage and exploration of 5G scenarios have become the focus of subsequent development.Although there is a certain gap between small base stations and acer stations in terms of transmission power, coverage area and transmission capacity, small base stations are playing an increasingly important role in 5G network construction in the current development stage.First, small base stations can effectively improve the 5G shunting ratio and improve the overall network efficiency.More than 97 percent of county towns and 40 percent of towns and townships in China are now covered by 5G networks as the country’s 5G network construction pushes forward.However, as a “ruler” to measure the comprehensive development level of 5G, the current 5G shunting ratio of operators is still low, and one of the most important reasons for restraining the shunting ratio is that 5G has not reached deep coverage and the user experience is poor.The main function of the small base station is to “complement blindness” and “supplement heat”, covering the densely populated areas that the macro station cannot accurately reach, improving user perception and playing a key role in improving 5G distribution.Second, small base stations can meet the demands of cost-effective network construction.Compared with 4G network, the number of 5G base stations deployed for 5G network of the same scale will increase exponentially. If it is simply covered by macro stations, the cost will be inestimable. At this time, small base stations will come into play.Low-cost 5G access network solutions derived from small base stations can provide good 5G coverage in hot spot supplementary coverage, medium and low value public network coverage and industrial Internet scenarios under the premise of low CAPEX and low OPEX.Third, small base stations can meet the needs of vertical industry applications.As 5G has the mission of enabling the transformation and upgrading of vertical industries, the integration between the communication industry and vertical industries will be deeper and deeper.In the 5G era, operators need to expand business in vertical industries, but the traditional passive DAS solution cannot provide other services except communication services.Small base station as a milliwatt level, watt level power specifications, more flexible capacity of the base station equipment, in solving the depth of coverage, capacity coverage is more flexible, and more cost-effective.The network construction mode in the 5G era will be a diversified mode of “acer station + small base station”, and even adopt more refined network construction mode according to different user capacity requirements.The value advantage of small base stations will usher in a breakthrough explosion.Dell'Oro forecasts that the global market for small base stations will reach $25bn over the next five years.Different from the super technical barriers of 5G macro station equipment, small station is an order of magnitude lower in terms of technology and product realization difficulty.Especially as third-party commercial chip solutions continue to mature, the barrier to entry is gradually lowering.More importantly, operators are willing to bring in new partners for reasons ranging from cost to supply chain.3. From the perspective of industrial competition pattern, there are traditional telecom main equipment manufacturers, small and medium-sized equipment manufacturers and numerous IT/ start-up enterprises involved in small base stations.Traditional equipment manufacturers, including Huawei, ZTE, Ericsson, Nokia and CITIC Mobile, all have complete product sequences. Lampsite of Huawei and Qcell of ZTE are very mature brands in domestic small base stations, occupying the first tier of the most competitive.In addition, Xinhua Three, Jingxin, Ruijie, Bocaibang and other companies have also invested in the field of small base stations for a long time, and have accumulated certain delivery experience and reputation in the operator market.At the same time, many new manufacturers such as Lenovo, Inspur and Satz are also entering the market, forming a situation of multi-manufacturer competition.Competition is fierce not only in systems but also at the lower chip level.In addition to the ability to develop their own chip parts of the large factory, more players are using commercial chips.Before 2021, the market was basically monopolized by Intel, Qualcomm, NXP and other giants;However, with the entry of many innovative enterprises such as Yibikeqi, Chuangxin Huiyan, Litong Communication, Jixin Communication, Yi Siwei, Feiteng Information, the domestic small station bottom chip ecology is accelerating maturity.Take Chuangxin Huilian as an example, it also received strategic investment from China Mobile Investment Holding Co., LTD and China Mobile Internet of Things Co., LTD this year.The delay in the operation of small 5G base stations by Korean carriers shows how difficult the operation will be.The author believes that operators should grasp the “three balances” from the perspective of industrial ecological cultivation.First, the balance between traditional and new manufacturers.Because 5G macro station equipment adopts a variety of 5G specific technologies, the difficulty and threshold are relatively high, and it is difficult to have new entrants.Small base stations are more flexible, and a number of new small station equipment manufacturers have emerged in recent years. The only thing we need to pay attention to is their product delivery and operation and maintenance capabilities.However, both traditional and new manufacturers should get the same opportunity, because the competitive pattern of a hundred flowers blooming is the key to the vigorous development of 5G small station industry chain.Second, the balance between traditional and open architectures.Although the products and solutions based on open wireless access network architecture in the current stage do have a big gap with traditional equipment in cost, performance and power consumption.However, the open wireless network industry chain has unique advantages in helping operators reduce costs, improve network flexibility and accelerate the integration of the cloud network side.Operators should give open platforms more opportunities to compete with traditional vendors and meet multi-scenario business requirements.Third, the balance of investment cost and income.China’s 5G investment will reach 900 to 1.5 trillion yuan from 2020 to 2025, according to the report.”Reasonable planning and design, steady construction and effective investment” is the right way to build 5G.At the same time, what benefits will 5G station bring?How to bring about such benefits?Operators should study this business model in the development of 5G, and more importantly, promote the innovation of business model.For operators, this collective procurement is an important event for the healthy development of the domestic 5G station industry. They should make strategic decisions and plans from a long-term perspective to build a more “fair, reasonable and healthy” development mode for the domestic 5G small base station industry chain.(C114 Les)