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Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE is recognized globally for championing pioneering technologies that have transformed the ICT ecosystem.

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 ZTEs diverse portfolio of solutions, products and networking equipment has helped established the vendor which is headquartered in Shenzhen as one of the important players for operators seeking to deploy 5G networks.

Telecom Review managed to secure an exclusive interview with Ms. Yan You, Vice President of ZTE Corporation, and General Manager of System Marketing and Solution Department, at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The executive spoke to us about how ZTE is helping operators embrace digital transformation and how successful execution of their transformational objectives will enhance product innovation which in turn will improve network agility. In addition to this, she talks about its position on 5G, and how the Chinese vendor can help CSPs transform their operations and networks.

Operators globally have recognized they need to embrace digital transformation. What challenges do CSPs face in their digitalization journey?

The operators are facing many challenges in terms of executing their digitalization objectives. However, I think there are two main challenges that they need to focus on: The first one is from a backend perspective - the network is not agile enough. It's also evident that the resource scheduling is not flexible and the network is not easy to scale. So it is very difficult to realize the service innovation. Secondly, from a frontend perspective, the product innovation is not strong enough. We can see that the new service provision is not flexible - and the diversified and customized service cannot be offered on demand.

In your expert opinion, what aspects do operators need to focus on when approaching digitization?

I think operators can approach their digitalization from three aspects: The first is through operation transformation to improve the product innovation ability. Secondly, network transformation can improve network agile ability. The agile network can support the product innovation. In turn, product innovation will drive network agility. Thirdly, both transformations will inevitably cause the mode change of network O&M and service operation. So it needs to be supported by the organization transformation and the talent development.

Can you outline to us how ZTE can help operators transform their existing operations?

Operators can approach their operation transformation in two ways. I think building a highly-efficient operation system that is centered on the carrier grade DevOps to facilitate trial with low costs. In addition to this, integrating various capabilities is very important in the 5G era - for example with emerging technologies such as Big Data, Artificial Intelligency, Internet of Things, Cloud, Network Convergence, end-to-end Network Slicing and MEC. So operators can build a unified system with 5G key capabilities to facilitate the service innovation for different industries.

ZTE has established itself as a major player in the ICT ecosystem, but how can it help operators transform their existing networks?

I believe that operators can transform the network in three specific areas. Firstly, cloudification is the foundation of the network transformation. It can help operators to realize the transition from bit pipeline to service-orientated pipeline. Secondly, 5G networks is SDN/NFV based and highly cloudified. At the time, when all are developing 5G, operators can build a supreme agile, elastic and intelligent network. Thirdly, 5G network is also software-defined to a high level, so operators can actively introduce Artificial Intelligency to the network in an effort to build a highly-autonomous smart network on demand.

ZTE has positioned itself as a global leader in 5G equipment, solutions and products. What is it that ultimately differentiates ZTE from other vendors?

Firstly, we have a clear understanding that in the 5G era, because of the dual-driving of cloudification and diversified service requirements, we should not only focus on the RAN construction, but also pay more attention to the end-to-end 5G network capability. In addition to this, ZTE can offer the full range of end-to-end networks solutions and products, which include the chipset, terminal, RAN, transmission, core network and vertical applications. So based on our comprehensive understanding about the requirements and pains from 5G requirements, were committed to offering cost-effective solutions which helps operators realize the added-value from 5G networks. Thirdly, we always adhere to technology leadership - and we can offer the most appropriate and advanced technology and solutions for different scenarios - that can be integrated into solutions which are tailored to suit multiple industries. We believe that for our customers, there is no better solution but the most appropriate solution.

What are your primary objectives and goals for the remainder of 2019?

My key objective for the remainder of this year is to continuously adhere to the technology leadership, to offer our customers with cutting-edge solutions to ultimately empower ZTEs 5G innovation influence as a Tier 1 player.

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