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Early Investment in 5G: Huawei Plays an Important Role in 5G Commercialization

Updated:2018/3/6 17:42

With completion and release of the first edition 3GPP 5G standards, 5G commercialization was officially brought into reality and became the main development direction worldwide, leading operators and industry chains all have carried out actions. In order to further accelerate 5G commercialization, Huawei will invest CNY 5 billion in 5G R&D in 2018. According to its plan, Huawei will launch cloud platform based on end-to-end 5G commercial system solutions in 2018 and 5G supporting Kirin chips and smartphones in 2019, president of Huawei 5G product line Yang Chaobin said at the Huawei Pre-MWC 2018 Media and Analyst Briefing.

At the same time, Huawei has realized cooperation with multiple leading operators in 5G and opened several 5G pre-commercial networks in the most developed cities in the world. For example, Huawei has finished large scale pre-commercial test in Seoul, South Korea, it can achieve real-time xGbps network experiences outdoors and user experiences of hundreds of Mbps by 3D-MIMO inside the room. At present, the first batch of 5G commercialization friendly users has formed in Seoul.

Starting from the first edition 5G standard

As the intelligent society comes, people's pursuit of immersive experiences and diversity of Internet of Everything applications and scenarios all put forward higher demands for business carrying capacity, which becomes an essential demand of operators in 5G era. On the other hand, a report from IHS said that 5G will develop into an important economic driving force, in 2035, 5G will create $12.3 trillion economic output in the world; merely 5G value chain will create $3.5 trillion output and provide 22 million jobs.

On December 21, 2017, at the 78th plenary meeting of the 3GPP RAN, the first edition of 5G new radio (NR) was officially formed and launched. This was the first commercially available 5G standard worldwide, which was completed 6 months earlier than the original plan. Its emphasis was on the great improvement in consumer mobile Internet experiences, namely enhance mobile broadband (eMBB), while significantly reducing the per bit cost of the operator's network construction.

On the basis of joint innovations with more than 30 operators, Huawei has contributed a lot of original results to the completion of the standard. The ideas of unified NR and four decoupling proposed by Huawei were adopted by the 3GPP standard.

In the key technology validation, Huawei was also leading the technical indicators and set multiple industry records, such as the highest 28.05Gbps cell capacity in 3.5 GHz, the 20.25Gbps highest single user experience rate, the 62.25Gbps highest millimeter-wave cell capacity, the 0.33ms lowest delay and 1 billion/MHz maximum connection number.

In the China Mobile Global Partners Conference 2017, Huawei exhibited the first complete 5G end-to-end pre-commercial system (device + base station + core network + carrier network) and exhibited the latest 5G achievements and industry prospects through business scenarios including 16 ultra-HD video playing, ultra-low delay industry network and others. At the 4th World Internet Conference, Huawei’s 5G pre-commercial system was awarded World Leading Internet Scientific and Technological Achievement Award, which is designed to honor the scientific and technological achievements and enterprises that have made outstanding contributions to the development of the world's Internet.

It is worth mentioning that Huawei 5G CPE is implemented on the basis of 3GPP standard and chip architecture, it is the world’s smallest 5G commercial device characterized by low power consumption and high portability, which can be widely used in future 5G commercial network authentication and provide strong supports for afterwards scale tests. In addition, it can be put on the wall or the pole for HD video backhaul in the city, or on unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for real-time broadcasting, it shows a wide application in deep combination with vertical industries.

Early engagement is the key of leading position

The reason Huawei can keep a leading position in 5G development is largely due to its early investment in this area. In his speech, Yang said “persistence is the key to success”, which was just the description of Huawei’s research and innovations in 5G.

Since the first deployment of 4G/LTE commercial network in 2009, Huawei has started research in 5G; in 2013, it hired more than 300 top wireless experts and announced a $600 million research investment in 5G (excluding product R&D investment). The first 5G research center was located in Stockholm, Sweden, which was the traditional highland of mobile communications technology. At present, Huawei has set up more than 10 5G research centers, including France, the US, Canada, Germany, Russia, Sweden and Chinese domestic cities containing Chengdu, Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen and Hangzhou.

In Huawei, multiple departments have participated in 5G R&D, including device company, HiSilicon, wireless product line, core network product line and network product line. In 2016, the 5G product line that dedicated to 5G product development was established, at present, more than 5,000 people are engaged in 5G product development. The R&D investment reached up to CNY 4 billion in 2017.

Following the evolution path of Huawei 5G base station, device prototype and product, the leading position brought by its firm investment is obvious. In 2012, Huawei released 5G key technology verification prototype, the volume of base station reached the size of four 530.2mm X 442mm X8 40mm cabinets and the device was also very large. In 2018, it reached commercial level in both engineering capacity and performance index, which are far beyond the industry average level.

In 2018, Huawei will launch a 3GPP-based 5G end-to-end commercial system, the wireless access network product includes a multi-frequency (including Sub 3GHz, C-band, millimeter-wave) and multi-modality (macro-station, micro-station ) base station portfolio suitable for different installation scenarios, such as pipe towers, poles on roof, pole stations and others. The most anticipated products are the world's smallest 3D-MIMO device and the brand new BBU platform with the most powerful capacity.

Explore business scenarios with leading operators

2018 will be a historical time point for 5G commercialization, technically matured 5G commercialization will be realized around the world. In China, China Telecom has set up 5G pilots in cities including Xiong'an, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Suzhou, Chengdu and Lanzhou. China Mobile will co-operate with 7 partners in building 500 base stations and forming 26 types of 5G business scenarios in 5 big cities. China Unicom has applied 5G pilot tests in 7 cities and completed external field construction in Shanghai and Shenzhen.

As a 5G business partner of operators, Huawei made the first commercialization step by focusing on business scenario exploration with leading operators. In September 2017, Huawei set up the first 5G pre-commercial network in Berlin with Deutsche Telekom. The 5G end-to-end solution was verified in commercial network system, which showed fine business experience for ultra-high speed and low delay. In November 2017, Huawei exhibited holographic video call through the first 5G end-to-end network with NTT DoCoMo in Japan. The network system was composed of Huawei 5G core network, 5G base station and 5G millimeter wave CPE, which showed its power in 5G end-to-end solution.

In South Korea, LG U+ completed the first large-scale 5G network test in pre-commercial environment and verified the 5G end-to-end solution in typical populated urban areas. The test was carried out in Gangnam-gu of Seoul and used the 100M bandwidth in 3.5GHz frequency and 800M in 28GHz frequency for networking. The test also helped to validate 5G network based IPTV 4K on-demand unicast, UAV VR live broadcasting and other future-oriented 5G business, as well as high-frequency and low-frequency dual-connection and inter-community switch in continuous networking scenario. In the test, 1Gbps average rate was achieved in the low-frequency band, in addition, a up to 20Gbps peak rate and an average rate of over 5Gbps was achieved at the dual-connection system.

Now, the world’s first batch of 5G commercialization friendly users has formed in Seoul, based on the 3.5GHz FWA and the world’s first 5G commercial CPE, they could enjoy over 1Gbps fiber-like experiences in wireless home broadband services. At the same time, the first batch of 5G millimeter-wave commercialization friendly users has formed in Vancouver, who could get over 2Gbps home access rate.

Recently, Huawei and Telefónica have completed world’s first 5G V2X proof of concept (PoC) test at the 5G Joint Innovation Center located in Madrid. According to the test result, the 3GPP 5G NR based test could achieve 99.999% reliability and less than 1ms delay to meet the automatic driving demands of typical outdoor macrocell scenarios such as populated urban areas, suburbs and rural areas, which lays the foundation for large-scale external field tests of 5G V2X.

In addition, Deutsche Telekom, Intel and Huawei announced that the three partners shared the 3GPP R15 based 5G commercial base stations and completed the first 5G interoperability development test in the world. The test includes new synchronization mechanism, new codes, new frame structures, new numerology and new waveforms (F-OFDM). At the same time, the test is based on the maximum C-band carrier bandwidth defined by the 5G NR standard and adopted the latest Massive MIMO large-scale multi-antenna array and beamforming technology.

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