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Having focused on research in the telecom industry in areas ranging from TDM to IP, then to Cloud for over 20 years, Jason Tu Jiashun, Principal Scientist of NFV/SDN Solutions, ZTE Corporation explained in an exclusive interview with Telecom Review Asia how the 5G Slice Store solution encourages vertical industries to participate in orchestration and life-cycle management of network slicing.

Could you please give our readers some insight on your position at ZTE Corporation and how your role has accelerated the development of the 5G Slice Store?

Principal Scientist is not a position in ZTE, it is an honorary title for those who make outstanding innovations in technology and marketing solutions. Based on ZTE end-to-end 5G slicing and slice store solution, in 2019 we have cooperated with China Mobile and introduced 3rd OTT such as Tencent Cloud Game to prove the concert of B2B2C successfully.

How important do you think the 5G Slice Store is for the wider commercialization of 5G technology? What can vertical industries gain from utilizing 5G slicing wholesale solutions as part of their successful innovation schemes?

With the development of 5G technologies, mobile operators will complete cloud-based transformation, these redundant cloud resources and network capabilities are potential revenue generators in the future. In addition, vertical industries and OTTs also need to deploy service applications in edge to meet low latency, privacy and security requirements to implement real E2E services. The slice store meets these problems, and helps operators integrate vertical industries and OTT applications to the edge telco cloud quickly, conveniently and economically. It helps vertical industry realize the comprehensive integration of real E2E service including network connection, while creating new revenues for operators. The end user just needs to pay one bill for the user experience to vertical industry, while vertical industry pays the operator for the network slice service.

5G Slice Store solution aims at this B2B2C business mode in which the operator is trying to satisfy the individualized service requirements of the industry users and the vertical industry is responsible for end user experience. This business mode will hopefully greatly promote the process of 5G commercialization through win-win mode of end customers, operators and vertical industries.

Considering that vertical industries each come with their own set of challenges, notwithstanding the fact that many of them have specialized needs, how then can the 5G Slice Store meet these different expectations?

At present, many big vertical industries are in security, service assurance and other reasons to build expensive physical proprietary networks. Renting a flexible, customizable network is clearly an attractive option, especially for vertical industries that do not have the capacity to build their own proprietary networks. 5G Slice Store has many pre-fabricated slice templates that can be easily ordered, while also providing powerful customization tools for fully personalized networks.

1. Customized design of network slicing: The vertical industry users can select the slice template in the “Slice Store” according to industry characteristics, and design the slice by dragging and dropping based on the SLA parameters (such as number of users, latency, throughput, etc.). They can even select which DC the slice is deployed in. For example, network slices can be deployed in edge DCs, together with central public cloud platforms to meet low latency and low cost requirements.

2. KPI real-time monitoring of network slicing: The vertical industry users can monitor network status in real time and formulate adjustment strategies according to SLA dynamically.

3. Enhanced billing: The vertical industry users are able to select different charging modes based on industry needs (by time, traffic or user number, etc.).

4. Open capability of network slicing to vertical industry: Through API gateways with security authentication, vertical industries can gain the capability of open networks such as location, terminal behavior, etc.

In your opinion, what do you think distinguishes ZTE’s “Slice Store” from other network slicing solutions offered by your competitors?

Just like “APP Store” helps to find, buy, install and remove the APP simply and economically, “Slice Store” which was an initiative by ZTE, enables vertical industries to customize, purchase and integrate network connection to their service logic simply and economically. In this way, the vertical industry can provide a really E2E guaranteed service. ZTE “Slice Store” is doing POC with several major operators and vertical industries.

Can you outline what your primary goals are for the 5G Slice Store and do you have any future projects in the pipeline?

Although ZTE can provide comprehensive solutions including E2E slicing and slice store, ZTE will still push slice store as an open solution compatible with multi-vendors systems. At the MWC2019 Shanghai, ZTE worked with China Mobile and Tencent to demonstrate the industry's first 5G SA end-to-end slicing + MEC system for cloud games, showcasing the guarantee for bandwidth, latency and user experience.

Cloud games are based on cloud computing. Interaction latency depends on network communication latency, and multimedia transmission is more sensitive to network latency. 5G mobile edge computing and network slicing technologies guarantee high bandwidth and low latency for cloud games. ZTE, together with China Mobile and Tencent, made in-depth research on the service requirements and features of cloud games, formed an end-to-end intelligent slicing + MEC solution that provides assurance of high-level quality.

It can be seen from the scene that the game is smooth, the game players do not need to download the game, they can play online with 4K and 60 frame rate ultra HD experience with an average 30Mbps bandwidth and 10ms latency. In addition, users can watch live games on their mobile phones or computers.