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Recently, China Telecom officially announced the results of its 2019 centralized PON equipment procurement, which has a total value of 1.2 billion Yuan, and includes three bid packages: GPON, 10G-EPON and XG-PON. Among them, the number of new-built GPON ports reaches 19,000, 10G-EPON ports reaches 210,000, and XG-PON ports reaches 396,000. That is, the number of 10G PON ports accounts for more than 97% of the total number of new-built ports.

In contrast, 10G PON only accounted for 55% of the total number of new-built ports in China Telecom's last centralized procurement of PON equipment (2017). As can be seen from the data changes, 10G PON has become absolutely mainstream in China Telecom's optical access network construction. The previously announced 2019 centralized PON equipment procurement of China Unicom and China Mobile also used 10G PON on a large scale for new network construction and capacity expansion.

The “dual gigabit” construction has stepped into rapid development period. What does the 5G boom influence fixed broadband construction? What is the significance of 10G PON deployment?

Fixed Broadband Will Step Forward Together with 5G

China has started large-scale optical access network construction in the 3G era, and did not slow it down in the 4G era. The implementation of the "Broadband China Strategy" has helped China build the world's most powerful optical access network coverage capability. According to the latest data from China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), China's overall optical fiber coverage has exceeded 94%.

In the 5G era, how will optical access networks evolve when the bandwidth of wireless networks is upgraded by an order of magnitude and the new performance such as low latency and high reliability has broad application prospects? In addition, how will optical access networks mutually develop with 5G in such a high coverage rate? With the increasing social influence of 5G, many people are optimistic about the future of 5G but ignore the importance of optical access networks, which, in fact, are very important in the 5G era. Historically, there is a mutually promotion and coordinated development relationship between wireless networks and fixed broadband networks. The 5G boom stimulates the fast evolution of fixed broadband from 100M to gigabit, providing higher bandwidth and more premium broadband access experience.

In December 2018, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) of China initiated the "dual-gigabit acceleration, same speed for same network" plan, requiring the deployment of gigabit broadband networks in more than 300 cities. In 2019, China’s three major operators determined their gigabit coverage plans, and officially announced the commercial use of 5G in November of the same year, indicating that fixed networks and 5G networks have entered the "dual-gigabit" construction era. In 2020, gigabit broadband is still one of the key directions in operators’ network construction.

From the perspective of applications, 5G applications in a wide range of industries beyond the telecommunications industry are unfolding a tremendous potential. Fixed broadband is no less important than 5G, and is marching towards a broader industry market. In 2019, the Broadband Industry Alliance released Whitepaper on Gigabit Broadband Network Application Scenarios, in which ten commercial application scenarios are mentioned including CloudVR, smart home, gaming, social network, cloud desktop, safe city, enterprise cloud, online education, telemedicine, and intelligent manufacturing, as a complement to 5G.

Large-scale 10G PON Deployment is in full swing

Gigabit broadband increases the network speed by an order of magnitude. Gigabit broadband and 5G have its own differentiated competitiveness. The large-scale centralized PON equipment by China’s three major operators has shown the long-term value of gigabit optical access networks. At the same time, with the industry chain becoming mature, 10G PON is ready for large-scale deployment and is widely recognized around the world. In the phase of large-scale construction of gigabit broadband, 10G PON is undoubtedly the preferred choice.

According to the latest research by the consulting firm Omdia, 10G-GPON OLT port shipments witnessed an increase at the end of 2019, and the majority of GPON OLT port shipments will be replaced by 10G PON port shipments by 2021.

The centralized PON equipment procurement of China Telecom is carried out in this context. China Telecom also mentioned in its recently released 2019 performance report that it will deploy 10G PON equipment on a large scale this year to promote the construction of gigabit networks in major cities.

According to the centralized procurement results, ZTE won the first place in two bid packages and Huawei won the first place in one bid package. It is learnt that the competitiveness of the two vendors is not only reflected in the share of the centralized procurement, but also in their technical advantages.

Equipment Type

New-built OLT (Port)

MxU (Port)




1.854 million lines






588,000 lines






100,000 lines






2.542 million lines


Take ZTE as an example, its flagship optical access platform TITAN leverages a fully distributed architecture to implement cross-generation access from 10G PON to 50G-PON, helping operators achieve service innovation, expand the applications of gigabit broadband, and greatly save upgrade investment costs. In addition, ZTE's in-house multi-generation PON core chip can match the long-term evolution and in-depth customization of the operator's optical access networks, and greatly enhance the competitiveness of PON equipment.

The huge potential of 5G has been widely recognized in the industry, and gigabit broadband further enhances the imagination of multi-scenario applications. For example, China Telecom launched "smart broadband" based on gigabit broadband, including the products, applications, businesses, and services in the smart connection, smart TV, smart networking, smart application, and smart service segments. In the future, gigabit broadband networks and 5G networks based on 10G PON will work together with new infrastructure such as IoT, industrial Internet and Internet of Vehicles to accelerate the high-quality economic and social development.

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