ZTE has long been a pioneering force in the wireless data terminal space, from its 2012 launch of the world's first CAT3 portable WiFi product to its 2022 release of the FWA MC888 series, which was the first in the world to support 3GPP R16. We spoke to Bai Keke, the vendor’s Vice President and General Manager of Mobile Internet, to discuss its innovations in this space.
What are the key advantages offered by ZTE’s MBB & FWA products?
ZTE’s MBB & FWA products hold a leading position in the industry. ZTE integrates the whole chain from systems to terminals, which is a major overall advantage, but we have also invested long-term in R&D to ensure ZTE offers a continued technical edge over its competitors. Our ability to offer large-scale delivery reduces the cost for clients, and our customized deliver offering has proven attractive, with 108 global core partners using ZTE’s products, giving us the world’s largest market share for 5G MBB & FWA products in 2022, according to a report by international consultancy firm TSR. We predict that this year ZTE’s market share will maintain this rapid growth, with shipments expected to increase 50% year-on-year.
Could you explain more about ZTE’s GIS (Green, Intelligence & Security) strategy?
While we have a strong lead in 5G MBB & FWA, it was important to develop new ideas for the digital future. With the industry trending towards mobile ecosystem development, ZTE proposed the concept of Green, Intelligence & Security (GIS) with the future of 5G devices in mind. By promoting green design, green perception, and green service, ZTE has reduced its energy consumption by a further 10% overall.
We offer more intelligent access, intelligent scenario control according to diversified user requirements, and multiple intelligent modes to regulate the access rate and device response status. Moreover, ZTE will make data transmission more secure and reliable; we have launched two security scenarios focused on households and children. Combined with a comprehensive security system and five globally distributed network security laboratories, ZTE has built the capability to guarantee the security of worldwide networks.
The 5G FWA product MC888 PRO GIS version launched this year. Incorporating ideas from the GIS concept, the model reduced comprehensive energy consumption by 10% comparing with the previous MC888 PRO model with its Green Life Mode and Night Mode. Made from 95% PCR recycled materials, the product is friendlier to the environment, and will be continually deployed worldwide this year.
How are ZTE’s products innovating in the post-5G era?
5G spectrum was a key item on the agenda at the recent MWC Shanghai 2023. The 700MHz band is set to play an irreplaceable role in popularizing 5G in the future, and ZTE acknowledges this with 5G MBB & FWA products designed specifically for this low-band 5G spectrum. Our 4MIMO lets our products double the network rate under limited bandwidth resources, offering carriers the cost advantage of 700MHz band coverage while affording consumers better internet speeds.
ZTE’s innovative 5G MBB & FWA products will also help to empower economic and social development. We offer three types of mobile data terminal products and solutions for global users: consumer wireless data terminals for individuals and families, customized wireless data terminals for industries, and vehicle-class wireless data terminals for V2X.
For consumers, ZTE provides full-scenario home and personal data terminal products, allowing consumers to experience faster rates, lower latency, and faster deployment of wireless data communication services. As a supplement to wired broadband, it helps popularize 4G / 5G networks.
From the perspective of the global wired access market, only 1/3 of households can access fixed-line broadband, and only 25% of households enjoy a network rate over 100 Mbps. For objective reasons like construction cost or route planning, wireless data terminals are needed for signal coverage - especially in some scarcely populated areas, where large bandwidth and higher rates have given 5G MBB & FWA products a broader space to develop. According to TSR, 5G FWA will grow at an annual rate of about 50% in the next 3 to 5 years.
In addition to helping to popularize network connectivity, wireless data terminals also play an important role in promoting the development of new formats of digital economy. Due to the flexibility and convenience of its deployment, 5G MBB & FWA products can provide more efficient network support for new digital economy practitioners such as outdoor livestreamers, tourism content creators, online car-hailing drivers, and food deliverers.
How will ZTE continue to innovate in the field of 5G MBB & FWA going forward?
Following the trend of Metaverse and extended reality (XR) in the future, ZTE will continue to promote the technological innovation of 5G MBB & FWA products, improving product performance to provide powerful underlying communication network support. At present, in the field of industrial intelligent manufacturing, trials have been carried out through VR equipment, high-speed connection and intelligent methods.
In the V2X field, ZTE is also delivering innovative integrated vehicle-road collaborative roadside computing products. Traditionally, RSUs used for roadside equipment communication enabled communication and data interaction between roads, vehicles, and the cloud, while roadside edge computing responsible for perception computing and fusion was used to provide real-time traffic situations. These are essentially two independent appliances that share an important role in intelligent transportation systems.
With the deepening of vehicle-road collaborative applications, roadside edge computing is no longer limited to providing road perception information to vehicles, but also provides decision-making and control services for driving. Computation is required in communication, and vice versa.
On the basis of the original 5G RSU, ZTE has integrated the RSU and roadside edge computing devices, redefining the connotation of RSU by the combination of communication and computing of C-V2X. The device supports full band Uu and PC5 communication, can access up to 16 channels of video + 8 channels of millimeter-wave radar + 2 channels of laser radar through the strong AI computing power up 100Tops. This product is based on the in-house integrated intelligent network computing operating system architecture, which can empower various intelligent transportation applications in multiple dimensions including computing power, algorithms, data, and scenarios.
In addition to this integrated vehicle-road collaborative roadside computing product, ZTE's mobile data terminal is also deployed in two aspects, the road end and the vehicle end in V2X. In terms of the road end, ZTE has conducted many tests in China. From the perspective of the vehicle end, ZTE is committed to being a provider of basic capabilities for digital vehicles. With the accumulation of chipset and operating system technologies in the ICT field as its core advantages, ZTE combines software, hardware and supply chain capabilities and basic advantages of digital transformation to provide 4G and 5G data transmission, smart modules, T-Box and other equipment and solutions to help automobiles become smarter.
In terms of industry, ZTE sees enterprises as the main force for the 5G digital economy development. To empower users, ZTE will focus on the five major industry fields of electricity & energy, intelligent transportation, medical care, enterprise affairs, and the Internet. Under the concept of "digital everything", ZTE will build on our years of experience and technical accumulation in communication to contribute to the development of the digital age.