China Unicom has implemented a massive cloud-native billing system to support the rollout of 5G. The new system, developed as part of a TM Forum Catalyst project using the Forum’s Open Digital Architecture (ODA) and Open APIs, combines 31 separate billing systems deployed in 31 regions of the country.
nationwide and +45 billion call detail records per day
new 5G services are released in 1 step
China Unicom Software
"Our transformation includes a new, cutting-edge product stack with new DiWa (Digital Wallet) and Tecnotree Moments (B2B2X marketplace platform) solutions launched; an empowered and engaged workforce; delighted customers; and outstanding business results. Most importantly, employees applied the One-Tecnotree principles in everything they did in their daily lives to help transform the company into a truly global leader."
With more than 1.4 billion people, China is the world’s most populous country. It is divided into 31 mainland provinces spanning five geographical time zones. Historically, most communications service providers (CSPs) in China have operated at least one charging and billing system per province. But this approach is costly, difficult to manage and cannot scale to support 5G services such as connected IoT devices and vehicles, Industry 4.0, and smart cities.
China Unicom’s legacy billing systems were already supporting 40 billion 4G call detail records (CDRs) per day, and the company expects 5G to increase the volume by at least 10 times. This means that an increase of 20 to 30 times the computing, storage and network resources is needed to support billing growth.
Working with Inspur, China Unicom developed and implemented what it calls the world’s largest cloud-native charging and billing system, a single system serving all of China. The cloud-native architecture integrates 5G slicing services, cloud storage, and distributed messaging services and provides NaaS APIs for Core Commerce Management. This enables users to focus on business applications, improves the efficiency of application development and reduces operations and maintenance costs.
With multi-scenario scheduling, by optimizing the cross-region and large-scale scheduling mechanism, unified scheduling problems such as network delay and massive metadata are solved to ensure the smooth scheduling of large-scale applications.
China Unicom began work on its containerized billing infrastructure in 2020 and championed a TM Forum Catalyst proof of concept called 5G cloud and AI convergence of BOSS to further its development. The Catalyst team relied on the ODA and Open APIs to create the billing system prototype, which China Unicom later developed and implemented. The ODA replaces traditional operational and business support systems (OSS/BSS) with standardized, cloud-native software components, enabling evolution to a fully automated operations environment that relies on analytics and AI to deliver zero-touch services.
China Unicom sees four primary advantages to its new billing system: