China Unicom, Huawei collaborate on 5G network slicing

25 Apr 2018

China Unicom and Huawei Technologies have signed an agreement to conduct joint research, demonstration, and deployment of 5G network slicing.

Under the agreement, Unicom and Huawei will work together to develop key technologies and solution for the Chinese telco’s 5G network slicing services and applications.

The pair will also jointly promote network slicing for various vertical markets, such as VR/AR games, industrial control, Internet of Vehicles (IoV), and the Internet of Things (IoT).

“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,” said Zhang Yong, president of China Unicom's Network Technology Research Institute.

"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.”

Zhang said Unicom wants to focus efforts on terminals, chips, networks, and vertical industries.

He Weijie, vice president of Huawei Cloud Core Network Product Line, said the company’s concepts of slice as a service and slice as a product have played a major role in shaping the 5G business model.

With its agile deployment, security isolation, high reliability, and automatic management, network slicing helps operators like Unicom to expand the vertical industry market in the 5G era and fully exploit the potential of their networks, He said.

As the fundamental feature of 5G, network slicing enables mobile operators to run multiple logical networks as virtually independent business operations on a common physical infrastructure. It brings new opportunities for operators to engage with the vertical market.

In February, a handful of industry players, including China Mobile, Huawei, Tencent, Germany's Deutsche Telekom, Digital Domain and Volkswagen, jointly founded the 5G Slicing Association.

The association, inaugurated during Mobile World Congress 2018, will study key technical issues in 5G network slicing, cooperate with slicing-related standards development organizations and forge test beds and trials aimed at verifying the capabilities of the technology.

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