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Top 10 telecoms stories of 2019

2019 has been the year of 5G through the major economies of the world, with major markets launching next-generation networks that are set to flourish in 2020

To paraphrase the eternally wonderful Sesame Street: this year’s telecoms industry has been brought to you by the number “5”, and the letter’s “G” and “H”.

The first two are a dead giveaway – this has certainly been the year of 5G, especially throughout the major economies of the world. The UK and European markets launched in mid-year 5G networks to keep pace with their US counterparts, and this was swiftly followed by the simultaneous arrival of the big three providers in China.

So if that was the “who” (not quite all) and “where”, the “what” element of 5G has perhaps been the most interesting, particularly in the enterprise space. That is to say, the use case studies are now here, and the year saw great examples of how 5G networks can transform healthcare, engineering and industry in general.

But the second of our Sesame Street letters, H, represents the company that dominated the 5G industry on a global scale. It has been our job to show what Huawei’s technology can do and is doing, rather than focus solely on who the company is and who it may be aligned to. Let’s face it: Huawei is going nowhere any time soon in 2020 when it comes to global telecoms.

Here is Computer Weekly’s top 10 list of what was driving the telecoms industry during 2019.

1. US consumers ‘confused’ by 5G

After major operators roll out 5G coverage with great fanfare and suitable devices in their branded stores, confusion exists in the US 5G arena.

2. 5G to reshape global telecoms sector in 2020

Study says next-gen technologies and the pressures of digital transformation are likely to continue to reshape what it means to be a telecoms operator next year.

3. Qualcomm claims world first for 5G mixed reality

5G-supported extended reality platform is claimed to offer more immersive, intelligent and connected experiences.

4. 5G needed quickly before mobile video boom overwhelms networks

Opensignal’s State of mobile video experience report shows that the video boom is causing concern over mobile experiences before 5G becomes mainstream.

5. Ericsson: More than 2.6 billion 5G subscriptions by end of 2025

Ericsson mobility report reveals that 5G has the potential to cover up to 65% of the world’s population and handle 45% of global mobile data by 2025.

6. University Hospitals Birmingham demos UK’s first remote 5G-powered diagnostic procedure

NHS trust uses BT 5G network to deliver medical services to a 5G-connected ambulance, combining virtual, augmented and robotic technology.

7. VR over 5G helps Belfast Harbour vision to become smart port

Harbour teams up with BT to deploy 5G-enabled applications including virtual reality (VR).

8. Huawei ‘in Europe, for Europe’ to unplug bottlenecks towards the intelligent world

Chinese comms infrastructure giant dismisses external “pressures” and sets out its strategy to make breakthroughs and deliver the all-connected intelligent world based on 5G, the internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI).

9. Huawei mounts legal challenge to US subsidy programme ban

Chinese tech giant Huawei fights back against Federal Communications Commission ban on carriers in the rural US from using the Universal Service Fund to buy its equipment and designation as a threat to US national security.

10. Huawei: Fresh mindset needed to speed up 5G development

It may already enjoy pricing and technological advantages, but Huawei is calling on the 5G industry to collaborate more, especially with regard to regulatory policy.

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