China Mobile joined hands with ZTE and Transportation and Communications Information Group to release the first-ever operator 5G Non-Terrestrial Network (NTN) technological verification results in history at the recently held 5G-Advanced Industry Development Summit hosted by ZTE.
Successfully achieving the verification results overcame two big challenges in terms of coverage and connection, spanning 36,000km and enabling direct connection between mobile phones. In other words, the cutting-edge technology realizes two innovative solutions for ultra-long latency and radio frequency data conversion between satellites and ground, fully implementing 5G NTN end-to-end connection technology and completing business demonstrations of SMS and voice intercom. Overall performance aligns with expectations and has made substantial improvements on existing solutions.
This pilot program extensively verifies the practical use of mobile phone-connected satellite technology, which helps construct a ubiquitous connected network with enriched scenarios, as well as deep integration of industrial chains at a lower operational cost.
The pilot’s successful performance based on 3GPP R17 NTN protocol. It adopts the transparent network structure of a geostationary satellite to complete the end-to-end connection of terminals, satellites, satellite gateways, base stations, core networks and business servers. Furthermore, the L-band satellite and satellite gateway are located between NTN terminal and base stations, which are used to complete the air interface information transmission, while the satellite gateway connects with the 5G NTN base station. The terminal is then connected to the core network on the ground and business platforms via satellites, satellite stations and NTN base stations, to achieve complete synchronization, broadcast, access and data transfer, as well as implementing business trials for SMS and voice intercoms. The latency of ping 64 is equivalent to four seconds, demonstrating typical performance in SMS and voice intercoms without disruption. The performance was in line with the expectations, and proves it is feasible for commercial use. In future, there will be emergency telecommunication trials commencing in Beijing and Yunnan province.
The 5G NTN and terrestrial networks are integrated to build a comprehensive network with extensive connections, enriched scenarios and deep integration of industrial chains at lower operational costs. Harnessing the impeccable coverage of the NTN network, we are committed to creating far-reaching coverage and connection for customers in civil aviation, remote areas and at sea, while also providing full services in SMS, voice messages, internet access and public emergency communications, to enhance the all-round evolution of CHBN (Customer, household, business and new markets). For industry, the deep integration of satellites and terrestrial industry chains should elicit economies of scale, driving costs of satellite connection down. For operators, China Mobile strives to reduce the costs of internet construction and operational costs by providing low-cost and wide coverage solution.
The start of new chapter in 5G-Advanced technology, the end-to-end satellite verification for 5G NTN technology has successfully laid a strong foundation for the mobile phone direct-to-satellite business model. Providing direct connections for mobile phones to satellites give users a more reliable and consistent user experience, creating a multi-dimensional connection for an integrated and ubiquitous network.