Huawei said that a total of 230 carriers around the world have already launched commercial 5G services
BANGKOK, THAILAND- Huawei rotating chairman Ken Hu called for a cross-industry effort with the aim of pushing so-called “5.5G” technology, which will enable advanced services and applications for businesses and consumers.
5.5G is not an official standard, but telecom industry players sometimes begin tacking on the extra .5 around the time that a generational standard is maturing and heading into the “Advanced” stage of standards (as in LTE-Advanced or LTE-Advanced Pro).
“5G has grown faster than any previous generation of mobile technology. In just three years, we’ve seen solid progress in network deployment, consumer services, and industry applications,” Hu said during his keynote speech at the Huawei’s 13th Global Mobile Broadband Forum (MBBF) being held this week in Bangkok, Thailand.
The executive also noted that despite the rapid progress in the 5G field, the industry needs to carry out collaborative work to fully unleash the true benefits of 5G networks and expand into services like cloud and system integration. “Together, we can drive leapfrog development in 5G networks, applications, and the industry as a whole,” he added.
According to Hu, a total of 230 carriers around the world have launched commercial 5G services as of October 2022. In total, the telecom industry has already installed 3 million 5G base stations, serving more than 700 million subscribers at a global level.
Hu also highlighted that consumer services still account for the bulk of carrier revenue. However as 5G technology becomes more prevalent, it will drive new shifts in consumer behavior, including a sharp increase in HD video traffic. He also stressed that new mobile applications that take advantage of 5G’s speeds and lower latency have doubled average user data consumption and are increasing operator’s average revenue per user (ARPU) by 20-40%
He also said that B2B 5G applications are also becoming a new engine for carrier revenue growth, which are seeing increasing value in industries like oil and gas, manufacturing and transportation.
Hu also highlighted that Chinese operators brought in over CNY3.4 billion ($500 million) in new revenue from more than 3,000 industrial 5G projects last year.
In order to seize these opportunities, Hu said that networks should be built in a way that optimizes different types of user experience. He explained that Chinese carriers have optimized their networks for TikTok and other popular video services, reducing first input delay by 50% and frame freeze by 90%. Hu stated that this improved video experience has doubled data consumption and is attracting new users to 5G services in China.
Regarding the future opportunities with “5.5G” technology, Hu said that Huawei worked with carriers and industry partners to propose four features for the evolution of current 5G, which would be: 10 Gbps downlink, 1 Gbps uplink, support for 100 billion connections and native intelligence.
“The industry needs to come together to define standards, prepare the spectrum, and build out the ecosystem,” said Hu.
He also noted that 5G can be integrated with cloud and AI to provide new services for consumers and businesses. “Carriers can deliver new experiences like extended reality (XR), cloud gaming, and enriched calling services for individual consumers, and provide enterprises with more comprehensive digital transformation solutions. These open up new revenue streams, presenting an opportunity for carriers to go beyond connectivity and move into cloud services and system integration.”
Meanwhile, in another keynote session, James Chen, president of the global sales department of Huawei’s carrier business group, said that network resources need to be maximized for the commercial success of 5G technology.
According to Chen, in order to fully unlock the value of 5G, it is necessary to accelerate 5G network deployment as this technology is only available for 29% of the global population, which compares to a 4G coverage of 92%. “Clearly, to realize the commercial success of 5G, we need to accelerate deployment to fill this gap,” Chen said.
The executive also highlighted that operators will need to improve the use of spectrum in order to take full advantage of the business opportunities of 5G.
“All bands will eventually evolve to 5G, but different bands have different features, and these allow carriers to offer different services to different customers.” Chen said.
“TDD bands are the ideal choice for supporting 5G’s massive capacity and next-generation experience. They form the capacity layer of 5G. FDD bands are at lower frequencies and provide solid coverage. They also provide the best user experience and support all services, including voice and NB-IoT. mmWave operates in a higher spectrum range with limited coverage, so it can be deployed to provide fixed wireless access and boost capacity in hotspots,” he added.
The execuitve also highlighted that 5G carriers will be able to maximize their network capabilities to meet the needs of every service through the smart use of spectrum bands.
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