Licensor Spotlight: Driving 5G transformation, China Mobile seizes new opportunities through innovation

As part of a series of articles, we spotlight the innovation of another of the patent owners in our independent Avanci marketplace, China Mobile. This has been translated and adapted from an original article published by Huanqiu.com in China.

At the forefront of developing 5G technology and industry, China Mobile has been busy building and operating 5G communications networks, creating a new information infrastructure underpinned by 5G, Compute-First Networking (CFN) and Smart Mid-end Platform, with the aim of building a new information service system featuring Connectivity + Computing power + Ability.

To scale up 5G private networks and advance industrial digitalization, China Mobile was the first in the industry to release 5G Private Network Technology System 2.0. Additionally, it enhanced the network’s capabilities by leveraging 5G LAN and TSN, and improved access control capabilities by utilizing NPN and Secondary Authentication. It has also strengthened its service carrying capacity and expanded its 5G private network capabilities.

Huanqiu’s reporter spoke to Li Nan and Hu Nan, deputy heads of the China Mobile Research Institute’s Department of Wireless and Terminal Technology. Li and Hu shared their insights on the development of 5G technology and their experience of technological innovation.

Li-Nan
Li Nan
A culture of innovation is an important driver that leads to multiple patents and standards

“Since joining the China Mobile Research Institute in 2007 after graduating, I have been engaged in research on and the international standardization of 4G, 5G and NB-IoT. I’ve also participated in the research of 6G technology. Now, I am working on technology research, standardization and industrialization in the field of wireless cloud networks,” Li Nan said.

Li finds his research motivation in China Mobile’s corporate culture, which champions responsibility and excellence, as well as its mission of Creating an Infinite Communications World and Becoming the Pillar of the Information Society. It’s what drives him to explore cutting-edge communications technology. After joining China Mobile, Li was excited to be engaged in standardization work. As one of the first representatives of the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), an international standards development organization, Li took part in formulating TD-LTE and 5G standards and the R&D of international standard-essential patents. His participation enabled him and his team to work with the best researchers in the industry, and to witness first-hand the application of their self-developed solutions and standards in products and networks. These valuable experiences helped them create and deliver value, and also serve as a source of inspiration for him and his team.

“I have spent over 10 years working on forward-looking wireless technology research and standardization since joining the company in 2008. In this period, I have been involved in the formulation of 4G- and 5G-related standards and the development of patents and international standard-essential patents,” Hu Nan said.

“Innovation is in our DNA. We are keenly aware of the importance of innovation for our development, and even for the whole industry’s growth. For example, when working on a carrier aggregation project, we recognized that being independent in terms of carrier aggregation is essential for LTE and 5G NR—it took us over five years to finish the overall closed-loop R&D from technology R&D and test verification to the launch of international standards and commercial application on a larger scale. During this period, my team encountered various setbacks, but the entire project’s deliverables were completed. This accomplishment is inseparable from China Mobile’s emphasis on standardization and continuous input. More importantly, these patents can help the communications industry develop sustainably prosperously,” Hu added.

Hu-Nan
Hu Nan

With V2X and IoT development speeding up, 5G is driving the continuous transformation of related industries

When asked by the reporter about 5G’s development trend and the application of 5G technology in the fields of V2X and IoT, Li said that V2X and IoT represent the most cutting-edge and widespread industry applications when it comes to 5G application scenarios. He believes that as the technology matures and costs decrease, 5G, a vital technology in a connected world, will grow explosively.

The general nodes of IoT are powered by traditional 2G and 4G technologies. For power-line inspections and other industrial scenarios, which require excellent latency and reliability, and industry application scenarios such as high-rate uplink transmission, 5G is the optimal choice, pointing to the technology’s tremendous market potential. In addition, as 5G technology continues to evolve and mature, it will also become commonplace in smart wearables and other IoT applications.

With the Internet of Vehicles, the application of 5G technology to autonomous driving will transform people’s mobility experiences. Autonomous driving is also bound to create new safety, reliability, latency and group communications requirements. The combination of 5G and positioning technologies such as BeiDou and GPS, as well as vehicle-to-vehicle sensor interoperability technology, could serve as the foundation that underpins autonomous driving, thus further enhancing safety and efficiency.

Li also believes that ever-maturing autonomous driving technology will in the future free drivers’ hands and help to create new in-car entertainment scenarios, leading to new business, which will in turn create new 5G application scenarios and markets.

Avanci partnership enables technology inventions to empower global markets

In January 2019, China Mobile joined one-stop licensing platform Avanci, where it can license its global patent portfolio of 2G, 3G and 4G standard-essential patents in the IoT market. Speaking on China Mobile’s partnership with Avanci, Hu said that Avanci enabled IoT industry players to access the vast majority of wireless communications standard patents through a single agreement, thereby contributing to the rapid application of wireless communications technologies.

In the past three years of cooperating with Avanci, China Mobile has gained a platform to promote its patented technologies globally and also placed a greater emphasis on its own R&D, allowing it to share its scientific and technological innovations with global industry partners. More than 40 world-renowned automotive brands now license China Mobile’s wireless communications technologies through Avanci, covering more than 65 million licensed connected cars on the road around the world.*

“The partnership with Avanci is a new initiative for China Mobile to explore IoT patent licensing rules and models. China Mobile joined forces with Avanci with the intention of helping the IoT industry reduce patent litigation risks, eliminate barriers, promote synergies between the IoT industry and wireless communications technologies, and drive high-quality development,” concludes Hu.

* Updated numbers since the original article was published