China Mobile launches virtualisation project

Alan Burkitt-Gray
Published on:

Largest operator launches Novo Net virtualisation project at Huawei operations conference in China

China Mobile, the largest mobile operator in the world, has started a network transformation project that it compares with AT&T’s virtualisation programme, Domain 2.0.

The project involves more than networking, says senior vice president Li Zhengmao, speaking at a conference in China,

“I don’t think ‘future networking’ is good enough,” Li told the conference. “It’s a whole new network, which is why we’re calling it Novo Net. It includes new architecture, new operations and new services. The current network takes voice and data as core. In the future, content and traffic will be core.”

The company is already undertaking trials in four cities, Beijing, Shanghai Zhejiang and Guangdong, Li said, in a presentation to the Operations Transformation Forum, a conference being held by telecoms equipment vendor Huawei at Wuzhen, near Shanghai.

“With virtualisation a lot of changes will be brought to the industry,” he said, adding – to the bemusement of Huawei – that telecoms vendors will have to be either hardware companies or software companies. I’ve asked Huawei: will you be a hardware and software company or a software company? Hardware companies will converge. If you do software your value will be much higher.”

He said that China Mobile, along with China Telecom and Huawei, had announced the Open-O project. “O means orchestration.” Telecoms operators should use open source “and just add your own features on top. Today everyone is using open source and the open source community is open. Previously carriers wouldn’t do development.”

He said the Novo Net project was part of what he called Communications 4.0 – following 1.0, which was digitalisation, and 2.0, the all-IP transformation.

China Mobile has 143,000 base stations serving 480 million users, of whom half are on 4G.

The Huawei Operations Transformation Forum is attended by around 600 telecoms executives from around the world and continues until the end of the week.