Huawei zeroes in on 5G

Read time 4min 10sec
Ken Hu, Huawei deputy and rotating chairman.
Ken Hu, Huawei deputy and rotating chairman.

Huawei Technologies is determined to lead 5G commercial deployment across the globe, after signing more than 40 contracts with global carriers at the end of March.

So said Ken Hu, deputy and rotating chairman, talking about the company's vision to build a fully connected world. He made the comments at the 16th annual Huawei Global Analyst Summit, in Shenzhen, China, this week.

This year's event, which has attracted over 750 guests, including industry analysts, domestic and international media as well as Huawei partners, happens during a time when the world's attention turned to the Chinese vendor; something Hu described as eventful over recent months.

Huawei has been caught in the crossfire of a US-China trade war, which resulted in a ban of the use of the Chinese equipment supplier's technology products and services due to claimed security fears. Huawei has denied installing any backdoors in its networking equipment for alleged government spying.

Nevertheless, 2018 was a fruitful year for Huawei, he noted. "While we achieved significant growth in business and innovation in technology, there were some challenges. But I think this is just part of riding the wave. As we move forward, there will always be ups and downs."

Turning his attention to next-generation networks, Hu said the 5G industry is developing fast, noting his company has shipped more than 40 000 5G base stations to markets around the world.

According to Hu, Huawei is focusing on helping its customers deploy a strong 5G network. "We want to help our customers build a simple, more powerful and more entitled network."

He believes a foldable and big screen smartphone like the Mate X will be a great application for 5G. "Combining the 5G network and foldable smartphone will see lots of disruptive applications in gaming and e-learning."

4G versus 5G

Explaining the preparation for 5G, Hu told the audience his company began planning for development from 4G to 5G within one year after conclusion of the standard.

During the first year of the 4G era, there were no phone chipsets, zero smartphones and only 400 base stations. The first device for the 4G network was the Internet dongle. In comparison, there are already four 5G chipset suppliers, smartphones are available and over 100 000 5G base stations, he said.

This is all much faster than 4G, he pointed out. "With this pace, we are quite confident our industry will be able to gain the user space much faster as well."

He explained: "In the 3G era it took 10 years for the industry to achieve 500 million users and it took five years in the 4G era. We anticipate it will take three years, between 2019 and 2022, for 5G to reach 500 million users.

"Further, Huawei predicts by the year 2025, there will be 6.5 million base stations deployed and 2.8 billion 5G users in the world, covering 58% of the population.

"5G is not just faster than 4G. It is a real revolution. With 5G the connectivity will become a platform and no longer a pipeline; no bottlenecks, low latency and high speed. This will make it possible to get everything online all the time and get old applications up to par."

Future trends

Hu indicated Huawei has identified zero search and super sight as two examples of a fully connected intelligent world.

According to Hu, zero search will be a situation whereby whatever a consumer wants comes to them without having to do a Google search. This will be a brand new intelligent experience. "It will enable many technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of things, etc.

"As consumers, we can expect a lot from the zero search experience because we will interact with the digital world in a totally different way. Consumers' hands, eyes and eventually the mind will be completely free."

Secondly, consumers will have super sight, which will enable technologies like 5G, AI, machine learning, as well as augmented and virtual reality. It will help to break barriers such as distance, space and knowledge. "With super sight we will be able to see something we couldn't see before and have better understanding.

"The intelligent world is coming much faster than we expect; in fact, it is here already," he concluded.

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