Huawei in 5G offensive amid US hostility

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Defiant Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei has announced a slew of 5G products and solutions amid its fallout with the US government.

At the Huawei product and solution launch in London this weekend, Ryan Ding, executive director of the board and president of Huawei's Carrier BG, delivered a keynote titled “5G, Bring New Value”.

Ding released Huawei's new 5G products and solutions and launched the 5G Partner Innovation Programme.

Through this programme, Huawei plans to invest $20 million in innovative 5G applications over the next five years, contributing to a thriving 5G ecosystem and accelerating the commercial success of 5G, says the company.

In SA, Huawei is making a number of investments to drive 5G. Last week, the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies and Huawei SA kick-started 5G training for a group of 100 final-year IT students at Walter Sisulu University.

Last year, Huawei revealed it had partnered with the department to roll out free online and on-site training in 5G and fourth industrial revolution technologies.

This after president Cyril Ramaphosa endorsed Huawei, saying: “We support a company that is going to take our country and indeed the world to better technologies, and that is 5G. We cannot afford to have our economy be held back because of this fight [trade war].”

Casualty of war

The product launches come as Huawei endures a torrid time as it finds itself caught in the cross-fire of the Trump administration trade war between the US and China.

Last year, the US Department of Commerce put Huawei on an export blacklist, citing “national security threats” due to the company’s close ties to the Chinese government.

It also encouraged its allies like the UK to snub Huawei, albeit with little success. The UK went on to give Huawei a limited role in the building of the country’s 5G network.

Amid the accusations, Huawei has vehemently denied installing any backdoors in its networking equipment for alleged government spying.

Earlier this month, the Trump administration ratcheted up its campaign against Huawei, accusing the Chinese telecommunications giant and its subsidiaries of a racketeering conspiracy, as well as a conspiracy to steal trade secrets.

Huawei’s launch of new 5G products and solutions comes after reports said the Trump administration is planning a 5G summit at the White House in early April as part of its global effort to ensure Huawei does not become dominant in next-generation communications technologies.

According to CNBC, the event has not been officially announced yet. It says the president’s top economic advisor, Larry Kudlow, told reporters on Friday that such a meeting would happen.

The report says the upcoming 5G summit is intended to gather information from the tech industry to help the White House press its case with allied countries that they should not allow Huawei equipment into their telecommunications networks.

Rich 5G possibilities

In a statement, Ding says 5G has developed beyond imagination in terms of deployment, ecosystem and experience. He adds that networks are the foundation of the 5G business.

According to Ding, so far, Huawei has been awarded 91 commercial 5G contracts and shipped over 600 000 5G Massive MIMO Active Antenna Units (AAUs).

As a global 5G supplier, he notes, Huawei is committed to developing the best end-to-end 5G solutions. “These will include the industry's highest-performance 5G base station that supports all scenarios and the Blade AAU with the industry’s highest level of integration.

“The Blade AAU can work under all sub-6GHz frequency bands and support 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G networks. This addresses the issue of limited space for antenna installation, and reduces the total cost of ownership by over 30% when compared to existing solutions. Huawei is also the first vendor in the industry to provide industrial 5G modules for vertical applications.”

Ding emphasises that in the 4G era, virtually all operators provided the same network experience. “However, in the 5G era, operators can provide differentiated experiences and charge users based on more metrics, including data volume, latency, bandwidth and number of devices connected. This makes it possible to monetise 5G. It is critical that operators redefine their 5G business models now.”

Huawei says the company and its global partners have worked together on multiple 5G projects, covering many domains, including new media, campus, healthcare and education.

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