ZTE and China Unicom have signed a strategic cooperation agreement on Software Defined Network/Network Function Virtualization (SDN/NFV). They aim to build-on current SDN/NFV network development trend, implement SDN/NFV applications, and promote the next-generation network construction for China Unicom.

In 2015, China Unicom published the New-Generation Network CUBE-Net 2.0 white paper setting out plans for a decoupled and intensive network architecture based on dual centers (a user center and a data center). The white paper also established the basic ideas for subsequent network evolution and construction, with the aim being, according to ZTE, ""to achieve leading network service capabilities and optimal productivity during multi-resource collaboration; driving network architecture evolution and deployment adjustment through dual centers; network pattern realizing 3-dimensional decoupling; service functions, logical functions, and deployment functions; promoting intensivism of the control plane, data management, data centers, and network nodes.""

The two say they will cooperate using open-source technology, application scenarios, product requirements, service applications, and market development of SDN/NFV technologies, generate research results meeting network evolution requirements and lay a solid foundation for long-term and sustainable partnerships.

They will work with open-source communities, requirement analysis, solution and product development, test verification/PoC, and commercial pilot office deployment for SDN/NFV and will propose draft standards and patent applications, jointly apply for and undertake national key research projects, and share the achievements in the SDN/NFV field.