Network

Optimising network experience

Upholding the original pursuit of providing “premium networks”, China Unicom endeavoured to build premium networks to satisfy customers, paving the way for the full introduction of rich and diverse services and applications, especially high-speed, large-bandwidth, low-latency network services, offering fast and high-quality service support.

Enhancing mobile network perception

As at the end of 2019, 1.41 million 4G base stations were built, covering 93% of the population, 84% of administrative villages, and 95% of application scenes. The network-wide VoLTE coverage rate reached 94% (96% in urban areas). In terms of 5G construction, the Company has cooperated with China Telecom to co-build the world’s first co-shared 5G network. In 2019, 5G services had been commercialised in 50 cities, with the total number of 5G base stations reaching 62,000 (among which approximately 20,000 co-shared 5G base stations from China Telecom). According to the statistics of Broadband Development Alliance, China Unicom delivered an industry leading download speed of 25.2 Mbps.

Expanding broadband network coverage

In 2019, investment in broadband and data networks amounted to RMB8.4 billion, adding 12 million broadband ports, with broadband FTTH ports reaching 190 million, accounting for 85% of the total. In 2019, 4.39 million new broadband ports were added through cooperation with private capital, with the total number reaching 39.42 million, accounting for approximately 18% of all broadband ports, up 2 percentage points year-on-year.

Promoting universal service construction

In an effort to fulfill social responsibility and enabling more people to enjoy high-quality network services, China Unicom, as always, spared no effort to provide universal telecom services by accelerating the construction of telecommunication networks in poverty-stricken areas, with the aim to speedily eliminate the “digital divide” in rural areas.

As at the end of December 2019, the fourth batch of universal services was completed, with 2,055 administrative villages participated. The scale of 4G base stations built included 2,076 base stations in administrative village and 22 border stations. The fifth batch of universal service had 2,859 administrative villages in 58 cities of 15 provinces participated. The scale of such 4G base stations built included 3,075 base stations in administrative villages and 176 border stations. China Unicom had completed the construction of 521 base stations in administrative villages in 2019. In the future, China Unicom will continue to build more base stations to “deepen coverage” and ensure “full mobile signal” in rural areas.

Advancing network evolution

While maintaining the development and advantages of the existing networks, China Unicom continued to fully explore future-proof intelligent network architecture and evolution strategy, comprehensively improving its future-facing network operation capabilities.

  • Newly built mobile networks were all deployed in a virtualised and cloud-based manner, and the newly constructed Internet of Things network was 100% virtualised. The Company continued to promote SDN upgrade and develop cloud-network integrated products, realising flexible adjustment and self-delivery of services in operation.

  • China Unicom Industry Internet (CUII) posed to enhance the overall data-carrying capacity, continuously providing more diverse and intelligent WAN cross-cloud connection and networking solutions, as well as strong network support.

  • The Company prepared the progressive plan of CUBE-Net 3.0 and published the White Paper on China Unicom’s Compute First Networking (CFN) and the White Paper on China Unicom’s Intelligent Metropolitan Area Network Technology.

  • With a focus on the research and application requirements on open optical networks, the Company met with relevant OTN industry standards, formulated architecture and interface standards of OTN management platform, independently developed an OTN/WDM-CPE management platform, conducted tests on existing networks, and promoted low-cost deployment of integrated OTN.

  • The Company completed the research and design of the overall reference architecture of white-box base station, and established an Open Test and Integration Center (OTIC) with China Mobile and China Telecom to expedite the growth of the white-box base station industry.

The average latency of China169 backbone network maintained a leading position in the industry for 46 consecutive months. The Company actively expanded the interconnection bandwidth of the points of interconnection. As at the end of 2019, domestic interconnection bandwidth had reached 7,911G. China Unicom completed the IPv6 transformation of all Internet backbone direct connection points, increasing the domestic IPv6 interconnection bandwidth to 7,662G. The capacity of the domestic backbone networks reached 288T, and international outbound bandwidth amounted to 2,460G.

Deepening speed upgrade and tariff reduction

To firmly implement the deployment of the national initiative of “speed upgrade and tariff reduction”, China Unicom adhered to the people-oriented development notion, set up a dedicated leadership group, improved the person-in-charge accountability mechanism, and implemented “precise tariff reduction and standardised package setting” through measures such as enriching package content, increasing package value, and expanding data packages without increasing charges. By doing so, in 2019, the Company further cut down the average mobile data tariff by more than 20%, the average broadband tariff for SMEs by 15%, and the data roaming tariff between Mainland China and Hong Kong and Macau by 30%. In 2019, the Net Promoter Score (NPS) of China Unicom’s mobile network tariff perception increased by 85.4% as compared with 2017 while there were increasing satisfied consumer demands, which accelerated the pace of high-quality development, and promoted the development of digital economy and information consumption upgrade.

Protection on network security

With the mission to be the protector of network security, China Unicom has constantly optimised its network security products and strengthened its service capabilities. For government and enterprise customers, China Unicom continued to improve the China Unicom Cloud Shield product series by increasingly enhancing DDoS scrubbing capacity to the comprehensive protection level of 3 Tbps by adding intelligent filtering techniques and capabilities in protection of IPv6 traffic. Furthermore, the Company officially launched domain name security products, and fully carried out research and development of various security tools covering web security, vulnerability scanning, DC security, and etc. These efforts helped guarantee the network security for important events as the NPC and CPPCC Sessions, the Belt and Road Summit, and the Military World Games.

For public customers, the Company continuously carried out network security promotion and education. Since the launched of the international call reminder and SMS notification service in January 2019, the Company had a total of 100.67 million call reminders delivered, and 1.53 billion SMS and MMS security alert messages sent through mass texting.