5G will develop rapidly in 2020. By the end of 2020, 149 operators around the world have commercialized 5G networks in 57 countries and regions. Up to now, China has opened more than 800,000 5G base stations, and the number of 5G mobile terminal connections has exceeded 200 million, making it the world’s largest 5G market.
You may be curious, except for South Korea, China and other countries that are in the first echelon of 5G development, how is the development of 5G network construction in other countries? Many people may not think that 5G in Southeast Asia and the Philippines is also developing rapidly.
Among them, Globe, a Philippine telecom operator, is rapidly upgrading and constructing 5G wireless network and core network, which not only has an advantage in the increasingly fierce Philippine market competition, but also made a great contribution to the anti-epidemic work of the Philippine society during the epidemic last year.
In Huawei’s “Light the Future” studio during the 2021 MWC Shanghai, we talked to Ashish Pilani, STA (Senior Technical Consultant) of Globe. Ashish Pilani details how Globe is developing its 5G FWA (Fixed Wireless Access) business.
What is Globe’s experience with 5G? What lessons can you teach the Chinese market?
01. Win new customers: 5G FWA is developing rapidly
In the dialogue, Ashish Pilani first said that last year’s epidemic made social development in the Philippines particularly difficult. Because from a global perspective, Manila, the capital of the Philippines, was one of the first cities in the world to implement a blockade, and the blockade policy was so strict that people had to stay at home.
As an emerging market, locals in the Philippines pay more attention to the affordability of operator services. To this end, Globe offers citizens a number of freebies and data in its mobile package.
In terms of the current popular 5G, Globe has been deploying 5G networks since 2019. By 2020, when the price of 5G mobile phones is close to the medium level, Globe has firmly believed in the strategic choice made when deploying 5G, and began to promote 5G in the market.
For Globe, its strengths in 4G networks put it in a good position to develop 5G. According to Ashish, Globe has widely deployed 4G networks in Manila and other parts of the country, and has developed personalized solutions that enable Globe to realize the evolution of 4G networks to 5G by upgrading software and some hardware.
Globe has worked closely with partners such as Huawei to deploy 5G using the 3.5GHz intermediate frequency to achieve the lead in 5G networks. Ashish also shared some of Globe’s unique insights when developing 5G business: Globe believes that 5G FWA fixed wireless access is popular in niche markets and complements its own FTTH strategy. 5G fixed wireless access has won Globe with niche and small and medium business customers.
According to the author’s understanding, after about five years of rapid development, 4G/5G FWA has become one of the main choices for operators to develop home broadband services. At present, more than 400 4G FWA networks and dozens of 5G FWA networks have been deployed; more than half of mobile operators have released FWA services. The number of 4G/5G FWA users worldwide has exceeded 100 million.
02. Building a 5G converged core network: more advantages than superposition
In the process of 5G network deployment, Globe realized that it needed a stable core network to support 5G network operation. But Philippine operators can’t choose a plan at will when upgrading their core network. Because the Philippines has 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G networks at the same time, and the 2G network will exist for a long time.
Therefore, Philippine operators pay more attention to the evolution of the core network in the 5G era. Through technical analysis and development, operators find that compared with core network overlay technology, a converged core network that supports all technologies has absolute advantages in technology and business.
In this regard, Ashish gives the following reasons. On the one hand, from a technical perspective, the converged core network improves the success rate of 4G users migrating to 5G networks, and accelerates operators to obtain 5G dividends. On the other hand, from the perspective of operation cost, compared with the fusion of core network technology, the superposition of core network will increase the operation cost.
How to promote the development of the converged core network? Ashish introduced Globe’s planning. Globe will build a 5G converged core network in the laboratory and test its effect, and then provide related services to some customers who need 5G independent networking (SA).
Regarding the value brought by the 5G converged core network, Ashish believes that with the deployment of the 5G converged core network, more applications will emerge. Therefore, Globe is verifying the upgrade of the existing core network to a converged core network this year.
03. 5G brings multiple benefits to consumers and businesses
What changes will 5G bring to the Philippines in 2020? In this regard, Ashish said that in the ToC field, the high bandwidth and low latency of 5G networks have brought consumers a better network experience. Ashish said Globe’s 5G speeds exceed 150Mbps, allowing users to do more in a short amount of time.
For more new services brought by 5G, Ashish introduced cloud computing, VR, automation, medical care, etc. First, cloud computers, low-latency cloud computers provide services for end users. With the powerful computing power connected to the cloud, users can work on mobile phones.
Second, VR, 5G-based virtual reality technology brings new experiences to consumers, which can not only improve the online learning experience, but also bring more value in the ToB field.
Third, automation, Globe is deploying 5G networks for customers to support the replacement of people working in hazardous environments through automation and mechanization.
Fourth, the medical Internet of Things, the Philippines is composed of archipelagos, and it is difficult for people on small islands to obtain medical services. Hospitals can use 5G mobile phones to realize regular consultations and provide other medical services.
“5G can bring many benefits, which are beneficial to enterprises and consumers.” Based on the development status of existing businesses, Ashish finally said.
Observation: Build 5G according to local conditions and choose the best path
From the multiple viewpoints shared by Ashish, it is not difficult to see that in the past year, on the one hand, the epidemic has had a profound impact on many industries, including the telecommunications industry, and accelerated the demand for 5G networks in the whole society.
On the other hand, from the perspective of Globe’s own 5G development strategy and specific measures, 5G is the key for operators to win the market. At the same time, promoting the smooth evolution of 5G from NSA to SA is equally important for operators to develop 5G. At present, when the 5G construction of overseas operators is still in the stage of NSA, Globe has already taken the lead in the industry and is at the forefront of the market.
Through Ashish’s actions on Globe’s exploration of 5G applications, it is not difficult to find that applications such as 5G cloud computing, 5G cloud gaming, telemedicine, and distance education are bringing consumers a better experience. At the same time, the performance of these businesses has also made more Globe itself and Filipino consumers more aware of the value of 5G.
In the author’s opinion, it is the general trend for global operators to fully develop 5G, but in this process, it is very important to choose the right solution to develop the business suitable for the country. Because only in this way can operators’ 5G investment be used in the most critical places, so as to achieve twice the result with half the effort and meet the current situation and long-term development needs in the future.
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