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In what could be a significant advancement of communications throughout the territory, China Mobile Hong Kong (CMHK) is claiming to have become Hong Kong’s first mobile network operator to have successfully accomplished a 5G standalone (SA) network test and also completed the first voice over new radio (VoNR) call.
Recent political upheavals notwithstanding, establishing 5G networks is fundamental in the future financial development of the territory in a region where various other states and regions have hit the accelerator on development of the next-generation infrastructure.
5G networks are seen as a technology foundation supporting Hong Kong smart city development, as well as facilitating digital transformation of various industries in the territory and serving as an essential catalyst for technology innovation in various fields.
Having a 5G core enables CMHK to offer network slicing to deliver dedicated and customised networks with specific quality of service and resources for 5G applications in different industries. It also helps mobile network operators explore new business models and revenue potential, through the expansion from business-to-consumer (B2C) to business-to-business (B2B) markets. The standalone 5G architecture also enables mobile edge computing (MEC), a key plank in cloud infrastructures with IT resources at the customer edge of cellular network, and VoNR.
Sean Lee, China Mobile Hong Kong
CMHK stressed that having such capability facilitates application and service hosting that require fast response time and high security. 5G SA networks also allow mobile operators to open their network and MEC capabilities to authorised third parties in developing applications and content. Key use cases envisaged include intelligent manufacturing, live cloud games and vehicle to everything (V2X).
“We are very excited about the successful installation and trial of the 5G SA network as it is the utmost target in CMHK’s 5G development,” commented China Mobile Hong Kong director and chief executive officer Sean Lee.
“The 5G SA network is built on service-based architecture [SBA] that features three essential capabilities, including network slicing, mobile edge computing and VoNR. However, we are now installing 5G NR equipment at the existing 4G LTE base stations to launch 5G services with NSA infrastructure as soon as possible.”
Technologically, CMHK has implemented Option 2 of the 3GPP’s 5G Network Infrastructure Global Standard for its network of NR base stations connected to the 5G core network. CMHK said it would continue to implement Option 3x on the existing 4G base stations for the 3GPP 5G Network Infrastructure Global Standard, upgrading 5G NSA by connecting to 5G NR for what it says will be simpler, faster and effective 4G and 5G network coverage.
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