Constructing Smart Premium Networks

In active implementation of the Cyber Superpower strategy, China Unicom earnestly engaged in network optimisation, evolution and speed upgrade, and built premium networks in a holistic manner to provide better services to its customers.

Creating the ultimate network experience

China Unicom is dedicated to building premium networks. It cares about user experience and seeks to provide customers with high-quality networks with broad coverage and high speed.

  • Staying ahead in terms of 4G network speed and offering lag-less experience in HD videos: In 2018, China Unicom made a total investment of RMB17.83 billion in 4G networks and had a total of 987,000 4G base stations in service covering 90% of the population. With the employment of technologies such as Big Data and AI, we precisely predicted network service volume and provided effective solutions to key customer complaints to ensure good user perception. According to the statistics of Broadband Development Alliance, China Unicom stayed ahead of its peers with a 4G download speed of 23.57Mbps in 2018.

  • Speed upgrade for home broadband for 7 years in a row: In 2018, China Unicom made a total investment of RMB9.16 billion in broadband and data networks. The total number of our broadband ports reached 215 million, of which FTTH ports account for 82.3%. The mainstream speed for home broadband increased to at least 200M, while ongoing improvements were made to the Smart WO Family Package with options available for family sizes ranging from 2 to 5. Customers can choose according to their needs, enjoying maximum value and convenience.

Advancing intelligent network evolution

While keeping up with its existing network development, China Unicom continued to explore future-proof intelligent network architecture and evolution strategy, and make its network more centralised, flexible and intelligent in the transition to an Internet-oriented network operation, providing customers with agile, self-service, online and personalised network services.

  • The construction of the next-generation CUBE-Net 2.0+ architecture has been expedited, with a view to gradually achieving network cloudification, automation and intelligentisation based on SDN/NFV, cloud, ultra-broadband, AI technologies, among others.

  • Through the integration of end-to-end differentiated servicing ability for mobile networks, we accomplished integration with common APPs, with a daily average of more than 1 million successful service calls and nationwide coverage.

  • Major efforts were made to drive the cloudification and virtualisation of core networks to provide a foundation of cloudified networks for IoT and 5G development.

  • We strengthened proprietary research and development in network software, embraced open-source technologies, and promoted network decoupling and open-up in order to expedite network re-architecture with the help of an open technological ecology.

Construction of green networks

Applying green technologies

China Unicom adopts highly energy-efficient network development strategy to drive cost reduction and efficiency enhancement for telecommunication facilities at source.

In 2018, we continued to employ efficient power modules and smart dual-circulation air-conditioning and achieved a 2-5% improvement in power system efficiency, a 30% air-conditioning energy saving and electricity saving of 20.54 million kWh for newly built systems in the first year.

The self-developed loose coupling channel closed-end technology (China Unicom Cloud Shelter) has been adopted to facilitate closure of the cooling passage of traditional telecommunication equipment. Compared to traditional methodology, machine room pPUE (partial power utilisation efficiency) decreased from over 2.0 to 1.5, delivering ongoing energy conservation throughout the entire life cycle of equipment operation.

To promote green data centres, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly equipment such as large cooling capacity centrifugal chillers, variable frequency circulation pumps, column precision air-conditioning, high-frequency UPS and amorphous alloy transformer have been employed in combination with energy- saving technologies such as residual heat recycling, natural cooling, HVDC, distributed power generation, photovoltaic power generation (lighting system). Through adjustments to the cooling system parameters and optimising UPS operating mode, etc., we enhanced our energy utilisation efficiency with PUE reaching as low as 1.33.

  • Adjustments to the cooling system parameters: the temperature of water supply and recycling was raised from 7℃-12℃ to 10℃-15℃. Approximately 2-4% electricity could be saved for every 1℃ raised.

  • Natural cooling: the natural cooling mode was turned on according to weather conditions. The mode operated for approximately 3,600 hours annually and accounted for 41.1% of total cooling time in the year, contributing to a power saving of approximately 33.6%,

  • Optimising UPS operating mode: highly redundant UPS with low loading rates have been closed down to raise the average loading rate. Meanwhile 10% of the degradation of fully loaded UPS can be saved.

  • HVDC: compared to traditional UPS, fewer levels of variation can facilitate power saving of approximately 15%.

Capacity optimisation and upgrade

In deepening supply-side structural reform, China Unicom eliminated obsolete capacity and achieved network optimisation and upgrade as well as cost reduction and efficiency enhancement by stepping up 2/3G network streamlining, fixed-line business consolidation and decommissioning legacy equipment. In 2018, 500,000 square meters of equipment room area were vacated leading to close to 300 million kWh of power savings per year.