China Unicom has chosen Nokia to support the deployment of its 5G SA Core network in China, the Finnish vendor said in a release.
Nokia said that this new 5G deal represents an expansion of its existing 4G working relationship with the Chinese carrier.
Nokia said it has been awarded an approximately 10% share of China Unicom’s 5G core network. The Nokia Cloud core products selected by China Unicom provide unified data management, session management and user plane functions, and are complemented by Data Refinery and NetAct, all deployed on Nokia’s CloudBand, the vendor said.
Unified data management manages all subscriber data and services efficiently and cost effectively. The session management function is a fundamental element of the 5G service-based architecture, responsible for interacting with the decoupled user plane function as well as subscriber session management. The user plane function delivers the packet processing foundation for the service-based architecture, by allowing packet processing and traffic aggregation to be performed closer to the network edge, Nokia said.
Nokia added that the deal also includes products from Nokia’s Cloud Packet Core portfolio, including the Nokia Cloud Mobile Gateway. The product provides the 5G standalone session management function and user plane function, in addition to supporting the 4G serving gateway and the packet data network gateway in China Unicom’s network.
Nokia currently has a 17% market share in China Unicom’s VoLTE network, where it has deployed Nokia’s cloud-based vIMS platform. This deal will further enhance the long term partnership between China Unicom and Nokia, the vendor said.
“Nokia is very proud to expand our working relationship with China Unicom beyond 4G. We are looking forward to close collaboration with China Unicom on novel business models and 5G service innovation to enable an open 5G ecosystem,” said Markus Borchert, president of Nokia Greater China.
China Unicom has already deployed a total of 130,000 5G base stations across China, Chinese news agency Xinhua has reported.
Of that total, 115,000 5G base stations were built in partnership with rival operator China Telecom. The 5G base stations provide commercial services in over 50 cities across the country. In September 2019, China Telecom and China Unicom inked an agreement to cooperatively build a 5G mobile network, with the main aim of reducing costs.
The company estimated its 5G base stations would reach 300,000 by the end of this year, covering all prefecture-level cities.
China Unicom recently said the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in China had slowed the deployment of 5G networks and impacted business development. In a statement, Wang Xiaochu, China Unicom chairman and CEO, said he expects 5G user growth to accelerate in the second half of 2020, as 5G network deployments accelerate and prices of 5G devices decline and more innovative applications emerge.
China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom have already built more than 250,000 5G base stations across China, according to recent information from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).
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