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Huawei bets on 5G

At the 2017 GSMA Mobile World Congress Shanghai, Huawei showcases working Cloud concepts for diversity of sectors; displays continued commitment to 5G efforts.

As the world signs up its 5th billion unique mobile subscriber just last month (April) and China making up one fifth of this massive figure, Huawei gives yet another impressive showcase at the 2017 GSMA Mobile World Congress Shanghai.

EITN spoke to Joe Kelly, VP, International Media Affairs, Corp Comm Department, Huawei Technologies Co.,Ltd who gives a good view of Huawei’s Digital Vision for this part of the world, whereby the impending 5G wave will a crucial role in all aspects of telecommunication technologies driving forward.

EITN: Please share what is Huawei’s digital vision for this part of the world.

Joe: As we look into future, we see one of all things connected, all things with sensors and in addition, to have artificial intelligence integrated into them.

Currently half of the world’s population still does not have internet access, this means that they cannot participate in this large vision of a digital world.

Participation first requires that it needs connectivity and access, and Huawei still sees a huge part of its role here – to build the required infrastructure, and with the higher connectivity that we are all moving towards. The next 5-10 years, Asia can expect to see even greater exponential growth in terms of what digital really means.

EITN: How is the Asia Pacific market segregated in terms of this digital connectivity?

Joe: I would break it down into 3 markets. First there is Japan and South Korea that is way ahead in terms of being entire collective nations that are already in the digital age. Then there is China, which is catching up really fast.

And thirdly, there is the rest of AP that is catching up, but each at different speeds and rates.

EITN: Please share about Huawei’s efforts and progress towards 5G.

Joe: We are all currently at 4G (which first went live in Norway in 2009), which has given us all an average of four times fold speeds of what 3G availed. With

5G, we are looking at 4-30x more speed and much more advantages.

The first 5G standard that is being developed now by 3GPP will be ready in 2018, and will be available commercially in 2020. 5G is expected to provide a much greater economic boost than what 4G brought about. While the only change from the move from 3G to 4G was speeds; with 5G the world can expect three major advantages:

a) Connection Speed

b) Improvements in Latency – from 40ms now with 4G, to 1ms with 5G

c) Amount of connected devices – Sheer increase to 100 billion simultaneously connected devices

And as we slowly see mass market of 5G, both b) and c) will contribute greatly to the realization IoT concepts like Huawei’s 5G autonomous automobile under transportation (Sidenote: A worldwide economic impact of USD2.4 trillion is expected for the automobile industry by it being connected to the Internet via 5G); secure and smart cities, and machine-to-machine enablement for intelligent factories, public safety, power grids, finance, etc.

EITN: What is Huawei’s contribution to the 5G efforts under the leading 3GPP standards body?

Joe: There is a whole diversity of members under 3GPP that is trying to make it work because we all know that in new ICT adoption, standards play the first and most crucial role. Huawei is an active member of 3GPP together with chip providers, telco operators, government regulatory bodies and more. How we contribute is that we currently have over twenty 5G trials that are running all around the world in the areas of automobile, agriculture, smart cities, medical you name it.

So Huawei reports the findings of our 5G trials to 3GPP in systematic reports so that everyone can learn and benefit from them. As Huawei works with more vertical industries on driving 5G, you can also expect that the size of our trials to grow bigger to include more elements of testing for interoperability with the environment and different industry scenarios.

EITN: What are your views on the issue of spectrum development and issuance (by governments) to impact Huawei’s 5G efforts?

Joe: Spectrum is like oil, an asset for governments. They distribute to our customers – who are the telcos and carrier operators, by governments; and this is where Huawei plays the role in delivery of 5G that can utilize the allocated spectrum in the most effective manner.

We work with and via the World Radio Communications Conference (WRC) – who’s role is to help manage spectrum negotiation with governments; and besides that, Huawei has transformed over the years to become a trusted strategic partner to both governments and carrier operators themselves.

How Huawei does this is by taking the collective experience and visibility that we gained from working across all the different markets, and translate that into best practice advisory to our carrier operator customers – be it on the best way to invest in 5G infrastructure, what are the services to develop, how to integrate with the IoT of other consumer lifestyle applications and more.

EITN: What are the main challenges faced by Huawei in its 5G efforts?

Joe: There are three areas of challenges, broadly broken down into Technical, Operational and Human challenges.

The Technical challenge covers things like air interface with the sensors and smart mobiles, and how these end consumer devices can take the great connectivity speed upgrades availed by 5G with their batteries and chips still being operational at optimal levels.

The Operational challenge refers to questions on what kind of services to build around 5G, how can carriers move from 4G to 5G in the most scalable manner and not be dragged down by the issue of ROI from legacy systems – basically the best business models.

The Human challenge looks at how to make 5G compelling for uptake by societies, how to make policy makers and regulators agree to standards…basically the communication of 5G to gain the required consistent understanding from the market adopters.

EITN: Last question, please share what is Huawei’s ROADS adoption with your customers?

(Note: First launched in 2015, ROADS is Huawei’s vision to drive user experience in a fully connected world – Real-time, One-demand, All-online, DIY and Social, and also as the ‘new carrier standard’ for telcos and carriers across the globe)

Joe: Huawei has about 600 telco, carrier operators as our customers base now.

Basically ROADS defines the experience of telco services for customers. In a nutshell, I would say one third of our customers are in good progress to fully adopt and achieve ROADS, another one third is catching up and just need to make the necessary decisions to get there. The last one third group are far from it as they are grappling to even roll out 3G or 4G properly.

However that said, Huawei still strongly believes in ROADS and as the ‘new carrier standard’ to really push the world forward into the digital age.




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