The 5G industry has been developing faster than expected, with operators already seeing commercial returns from the first wave of 5G roll-out, with no less than an explosion in the 5G user base and the number of 5G devices available since 2019, with momentum due to carry on right the way through 2021, said Huawei executive director and carrier business group president Ryan Ding.
Giving a keynote speech at the company’s 5G Brings New Value forum, held at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) Shanghai 2021, where Huawei announced the official launch of its new 5GtoB solution, Ding made the case for the developments, commercial returns and opportunities for industry digitisation that 5G would bring.
According to Ding, the 5G mobile phone ecosystem will become as mature as 4G over the next year or two as network roll-outs continue and the user base keeps growing. He noted that by the end of 2020, 380 5G devices had hit the market – eight times more than the year before. The mobile 5G user base had also reached 220 million and wireless home broadband connections reached 1.05 million, a 17 and 21 times year-on-year increase, respectively. Ding predicted these numbers would triple in 2021.
Another key factor driving the uptake of 5G was the rapidly dropping prices of 5G phones. There are already multiple units on the market priced at under US$150 and about 30 mid-range and low-end phones priced below US$300. Ding observed that in the markets that deployed 5G first, operators have already begun reaping commercial returns. In China and South Korea, operator revenue continued to increase as their 5G user bases grew faster than in other countries. The presentation noted that Finnish operator DNA and Saudi operator Zain also achieved impressive financial results in the early phases of commercial 5G deployment.
Ding took the opportunity to make the official release its 5GtoB solution, which is aimed at creating new value for every player across the industry value chain. First announced in November 2020, 5GtoB suite is designed to enable intelligent and precise planning, simplified provisioning on-demand, and proactive network operations and maintenance, for which efficiency is a huge challenge in building 1+N target networks.
The Huawei 5GtoB Solution includes four parts: 5GtoB Network, 5GtoB NaaS, 5GtoB App Engine and 5GtoB Marketplace. With 5GtoB Network serving as the infrastructure of the 5G solution, Huawei said it would continue building its capabilities in providing scenario-based 5GtoB services, including network planning, construction, maintenance and optimisation.
Huawei said the suite realises an alignment with industry service-level agreement (SLA) requirements, adaptive deployment in complex scenarios, and real-time SLA monitoring and fault prediction, facilitating digital layout of the 5G B2B industry. It said test results on commercial live networks had revealed that its technology could bring 1+N energy efficiency and optimal user experience, reducing energy consumption by 15% and increasing network traffic by 10%.
Ding stated that building on its experience in connectivity, computing and industry digitisation, Huawei could work with operators and other industry partners to develop a one-stop solution that covers sales, operations and services. He revealed that the first use case for the suite would be in industrial mobile, with the suite seeing use in the steel industry. Ding noted that with the capabilities and experience embedded into this platform, industrial 5G solutions like automated billet rotation, augmented reality-assisted remote assembly and steel surface quality inspection could be standardised and rapidly replicated.
Concluding, Ding emphasised that industry digitisation would be a huge market, but that digital infrastructure developments varied greatly across industries, application scenarios also varied, and that related digital standards were not yet in place. As such, he called on all industry players to work together to establish comprehensive 5GtoB standards and ecosystem to drive further industry digitisation. He closed by stressing a commitment by Huawei to investing in the ecosystem and standards and supporting industry digitisation.