5.5G on the way as Huawei predicts golden decade for advanced comms

Huawei chiefs predict bright times ahead for 5G market with evolved standard imminent offering improved real-time interaction experiences for individual users and new scenarios

Ryan Ding, Huawei executive director and president of the carrier business group, has said the coming decade will be a golden age for 5G’s progress around the world, and that the whole industry must have faith in the technology, building the best 5G networks and making the most of them for shared value.

In a keynote speech at the 2020 Global Mobile Broadband Forum, Ding said 5G was developing much more quickly than previous generations of communications networks. He recognised more than 100 current commercial 5G networks worldwide and noted that budget 5G mobile phones had dropped in price considerably.

This, he said, was driving up the number of 5G users around the world, with leading carriers already benefiting from 5G data plans, seeing an increase in the average revenue per user of 5G users through multi-metric service packages and upgraded services, such as 5G messaging and enriched calling.

But to further develop 5G and encourage more people to embrace it, Ding called on carriers to aim high in their 5G network build strategies. “They need to provide coverage across all scenarios, such as for dense urban areas, suburbs, and indoors so that users always have access to 5G services,” he said. “Carriers also need to improve 5G connectivity to deliver a consistently superior experience to users.”

Ding also turned his attention to the potentially hugely lucrative market for industrial 5G, which he predicted would be of increasing importance to carriers. He noted how 5G was being applied in more and more sectors over the year since it was first deployed, with many industry applications now increasingly commoditised and able to be replicated on a larger scale, with carriers also exploring how to use 5G to enable vertical industries.

“Unlike consumers who care most about data speeds, industry customers have a variety of needs, and so it is crucial that carriers maximise network value by nurturing new capabilities,” said Ding. “To meet these diverse needs, the telecoms sector needs to provide fundamental network capabilities, highly reliable network services, and flexible networking solutions necessary for industrial 5G applications.

“The telecoms sector will also need to make improvements from end to end, ranging from network planning, construction, maintenance and optimisation to operations. This will help reduce the costs of deploying industry applications.”

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Ding emphasised that developing industrial 5G applications was an industry-wide effort, rather than just carriers’ responsibility. Accelerating this development was only possible when telecommunications integrates with other industries, he said.

Ding added that in the recently frozen Release 16, 3GPP had added an improved standard for broadcasting services and 5G functions such as location and ultra-low air interface latency. Upcoming releases, including Release 17, will address additional industry needs, he said.

Supporting Ding’s optimism was Huawei executive director David Wang, who gave details of 5.5G networks which he said would result in a better, intelligent world. Wang said 5.5G would be an evolution of 5G and that he looked forward to working with industry partners to improve real-time interaction experience for individual users, enhance cellular IoT (internet of things) capabilities and explore new scenarios, including uplink centric broadband communication, real-time broadband communication and harmonised communication and sensing.

“5.5G is our vision for the industry,” said Wang. “It is an enhancement and extension of the three standard 5G scenarios defined by the ITU – eMBB, mMTC and URLLC.”

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