We are number 1 in the world in 5G – Huawei

“I can be very confident that we are number 1 in the world in 5G,” Huawei’s Global Head of Marketing for 5G, Eric Zhao told MyBroadband in an interview in Shenzhen, China.

“When we say we are number 1 in 5G, it is not a claim made by us – telcos have told us this.”

He believes that Huawei’s 5G technology is leading the market because of the company’s continuous investment in research and development.

Because of this, Zhao said 5G has become easy to install for the company, and its technology has reached the strictest regulatory requirements.

He said that the company has already invested $4 billion into 5G research and development since it started ten years ago.

“Our 5G technology is so excellent because of this intensive investment.”

5G network implementation

5G can be implemented without significantly expanding the number of base stations compared to 4G, said Zhao.

This is despite the increased bandwidth and, by extension, the reduced coverage of the technology.

He said that this has been proven by 5G installations in China, Europe, and South Korea, where the implementation of 5G stations relative to the number of 4G stations in a particular coverage area was almost 1:1, yet coverage was almost the same.

“Basically speaking, 5G coverage will not be smaller than 4G,” said Zhao.

Zhao also highlighted the possibility for mobile networks to re-purpose lower-frequency spectrum to implement 5G.

“Many telcos in places such as the EU have said that they want to use previous-generation spectrum to launch 5G. Technically this is very feasible,” said Zhao.

He said this is proven by the fact that China Mobile is currently using the 2.6GHz band for both 4G and 5G coverage.

This is significantly lower than the “golden frequency band,” which spans roughly the 3.3-3.8GHz range.

“Because we have made such head roads, in the future, all spectrum could possibly be used for 5G,” added Zhao.

Zhao said that for developing nations that are still struggling to offer comprehensive 4G coverage nationwide, Huawei encourages proactive 4G network development.

He added that every rand spent on 4G infrastructure is also a rand spent on 5G.

“For countries that have not yet released spectrum, it is better to use existing technologies to help people in these countries,” said Zhao.

Use cases

Zhao said that 5G offers significant benefits to developing nations, as it can open opportunities for new businesses and opportunities to develop in a variety of fields, which in turn can provide a big boost to these nations’ economies.

For example, in the past, live broadcasters have needed to visit the site of a broadcast days in advance, and have operated with significant costs such as those associated with broadcasting vehicles – which can cost as much as $10 million – and the rental of other equipment such as satellites.

There is also the threat of cables being damaged, as well as equipment wear-and-tear.

Huawei now has a 5G product that has been trialled by broadcasters successfully which allows broadcasters to transmit their content by using a CPE system that can fit into a single backpack.

Zhao also said that 5G provides a great opportunity for users to replace their FTTx solutions, as 5G solutions can offer comparable speeds while not incurring issues such as high-cost trench digging and last-mile installations.

The company calls this 5G product “Air Fibre,” or “Fibre over Air.”

Handset prices to decrease

Zhao said that the current expensive pricing of 5G handsets is in line with what vendors need to charge, as these devices are expected to offer flagship features.

However, he also believes that there are significant opportunities to lower the price of 5G devices in the near future.

While most 5G handsets are currently priced upwards of $1,000, said Zhao, a Chinese company recently launched a $500 5G handset.

“By the end of 2020, I believe we will see 5G smartphones available for as low as $200 – or at least $500.”

Bradley Prior is a guest of Huawei at Huawei Connect in Shenzhen, China.

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We are number 1 in the world in 5G – Huawei