On December 20, 2017, at the 78th plenary meeting of the 3GPP in Lisbon, Portugal, the first 5G NR NSA standard was officially frozen. On June 13, 2018, at the 80th plenary meeting of the 3GPP in Santiago, the first 5G NR SA standard was officially frozen. This means that the global mobile communication industry is about to carry out full-scale 5G NR business deployment, and the 5G era is coming.
Because the NSA standard is six months earlier than the SA standard, and terminals support the same pace, most operators select the NSA standard to deploy 5G networks in the early stage of global 5G deployment. Although NSA deployment can accelerate the commercial use of 5G, NSA technology limitations restrict the full development of 5G service potential. Slicing, new QoS mechanisms, and better network performance all require ultimate standard SA. However, the direct change from NSA to SA results in the failure of early-stage NSA terminals to work in SA networks, greatly affecting the construction and promotion of 5G. Therefore, the smooth transition from NSA to SA becomes the focus of the operator, and the NSA&SA dual-mode network solves this difficulty.
China’s network conversion experience is worthy of reference. With the rapid commercial use of 5G and the maturity of the NSA industry chain in China, the SA network is expected to be a long-term process in the industry. In 2019, China sold millions of 5G handsets, but most handsets only support NSA. Operators need to consider the compatibility of these users and NSA handsets in China. In addition, we need to consider the development of increasingly demanding 5G applications in the industry. For example, the V2X has a high requirement for low latency, and the 5G smart campus requires big connections.
Together with China Mobile, ZTE has built the world’s first 5G NSA&SA commercial dual-mode continuous coverage high-quality network in Fuzhou University, China. This dual-mode network allows the NSA single-mode terminals sold on the market and the SA terminals in the future to access this network at the same time, providing users with a high-speed network experience that is not restricted by the 5G terminal system anytime and anywhere. At the same time, the construction of 5G NSA&SA dual-mode continuous coverage network and network optimization provide China Mobile with valuable dual-mode commercial experience in the study of smooth evolution of 5G network, and provide more comprehensive technical accumulation.
After thorough tests and network optimization, the current network fully meets the performance requirements after NSA and SA terminals are connected at the same time in commercial mode, bringing better 5G experience to users with different requirements. In the future, China Mobile will evolve smoothly from 5G NSA to NSA&SA for core regions such as transportation hubs, hospitals and schools according to the market conditions, to provide consumers and enterprise users with the possibility of experiencing the 5G rate anytime and anywhere.
ZTE is a world-leading provider of integrated communications solutions. By providing innovative technologies and product solutions for telecom operators and enterprise network customers in over 160 countries and regions, ZTE provides worldwide users with voice, data, multimedia, and wireless broadband communications. At present, ZTE has fully served mainstream global operators and enterprise network customers. With the world’s first large-scale 5G commercial deployment, ZTE has signed 35 5G commercial contracts worldwide, covering China, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, and other major 5G markets, and has cooperated with more than 60 operators worldwide.