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Digital Dividends Only Possible With Better 5G in Five Areas
July 3, 2023 News


Written by: Syed Ahmad Hafez, Editor, AOPG.

Digitalisation is undeniably the path forward in this era of rapid technological advancement, and the role of 5G in accelerating this crucial process cannot be overstated. Emphasising this significance, Li Peng, Corporate Senior Vice President and President of the Carrier BG at Huawei, highlighted in his keynote address at MWC Shanghai 2023 the pivotal role that 5G plays in propelling digitalisation forward.

His keynote, titled “Creating New Value with 5G to Unleash Digital Dividends,” discussed in-depth how 5G is spearheading the development of the digital industry and enabling the digitalisation of all industries. He also highlighted that the industry needs to innovate together to meet increasing digital requirements in both the consumer and industrial markets and create new value with 5G to unleash digital dividends.

“We have entered the 5G era. ICT is being widely used to drive industrial digitalisation which is, in turn, giving rise to the digital and intelligent economy. With the help of 5G, the digital industry is growing by leaps and bounds. By the end of 2022, the world had over 1 billion 5G users. This took only four years, while it took 4G eight years to hit 1 billion users.”

It’s also highlighted a pressing need for greater network capabilities in a future when “new business scenarios for people, homes, businesses, and vehicles will deliver new experiences.” These new scenarios, “will raise higher requirements for network capabilities such as 10 Gbps downlink, 1 Gbps uplink and 100 billion IoT connections,” and these will, in turn, “create a vast market space in 5.5G for carriers.”

Connecting People: Boundless Demand for New Experiences

Currently, the world has over 1.2 billion 5G users. Li explained that people’s never-ending pursuit of the ultimate user experience is driving the development of innovative content and applications, along with the construction of 5G networks that can deliver a 10 Gbps experience.

“To meet these high demands, Chinese carriers have been promoting new applications like New Calling, cloud phones and naked-eye 3D,” Li pointed out. “New Calling helps carriers better connect consumers using video-based calls. The application facilitates communication in both personal and professional settings, making remote work easier. A single New Calling user can generate over 1 GB of data per week.”

Cloud phones are being used in China to support cloud gaming, mobile office, and more. It requires highly reliable networks and one cloud phone user can generate over 1 GB of data a day. Third, naked-eye 3D helps users enjoy higher-definition content from more perspectives.”

Huawei predicts that these applications and content will also spur a 10-fold surge in network traffic. For example, the traffic generated by naked-eye 3D content will see a 3- to 10-fold increase compared to 2D videos.

5G spectrum will also be crucial for achieving the ultimate user experience. The industry needs access to new frequency bands, including the 6 GHz and mmWave bands, as well as the sub-100 GHz spectrum for 5G New Radio. In line with this requirement, Huawei has already worked with multiple carriers to perform technical verification for the 6 GHz band. Field tests show that a 10 Gbps downlink can be achieved on the 6 GHz band and that the band can also achieve co-coverage with C-band for a single site.

Connecting Homes: Countless New Scenarios, New Demands, and Room for Smart Life Dividends

In the consumer market, skyrocketing demand for new experiences has led to a boom in innovative forms of content and applications, like naked-eye 3D, smart home management and whole-house intelligence. This has prompted carriers to upgrade home networks to deliver a bandwidth of 10 Gbps, akin to private lines.

“We are also seeing a rise in consumer demand for better experiences in home scenarios. We believe this smart home market will develop rapidly in the next decade,” Li noted. This means that smart home services cannot be delivered without the support of strong networks. Home networks will be able to deliver a bandwidth of 10 Gbps and ultra-low latency while connecting a huge number of smart devices. In truth, home networks will need to perform at the same level as private lines.”

To address this new age need for smarter, more connected homes, the keynote highlighted Huawei’s recent launching of 5G FWA Square solutions, including FWA Pro, FWA Lite and FWA Biz.

“At Huawei, we want to help carriers better meet home users’ needs in various scenarios and unleash smart life dividends faster. This is why we launched our 5G FWA Square solutions. We have FWA Pro for ultrafast connectivity, FWA Lite for cost-effective connectivity and FWA Biz for the highly reliable connectivity required in industrial scenarios. These three solutions address different scenarios and can help expand the 5G FWA market. Huawei has already verified these solutions with multiple carriers in the Middle East.”

Connecting Industries and Machines: Supercharging Production Systems

Since 5G commercialisation began four years ago, more than 17,000 private 5G networks have been built globally. These networks have turbocharged digitalisation in many industries, with clear economic benefits for early adopters in the manufacturing, port, mining, oil and gas and healthcare industries.

“In addition to meeting the needs of individual users and homes, 5G also creates huge value for industries that go digital. As businesses continue integrating digital technology further into their production processes, they will expect more from their networks. Some will need more reliable deterministic networks that deliver lower latency, while others will require IoT connections with extremely low—or even zero—energy consumption. 5G can make all of these things happen. By providing 5G to businesses, carriers can tap into the trillion-dollar B2B market.”

As industrial digitalisation becomes more common, more businesses will integrate digital technology into their production processes, and they will require more advanced network capabilities that 5G can provide.

In China, together with a carrier and partners, Huawei helped a customer trialling the industry’s first 5.5G-powered flexible production line. The trial found that the 5.5G deterministic network guaranteed ultra-high reliability and reduced latency down to 4 milliseconds in a high-concurrency environment.

Connecting Vehicles: Strong Tailwinds and a New Path for Carriers

The popular topic of autonomous vehicles is also touched on during Li’s speech. Constant progress is being made in the areas of connected vehicles and the Internet of Vehicles (IoV), and ICT services are essential for intelligent connected vehicles, Vehicle to Everything (V2X), and connected intelligence.

5.5G will help cars sense their surroundings much more clearly. An IoV with advanced sensing is a core component of intelligent traffic light systems, navigation on rainy and foggy days, beyond-line-of-sight sensing and more.

“[Making connected vehicles a reality] is one of the biggest use cases for IoT. Demand for intelligent connected vehicles is on the rise, generating strong tailwinds for the market,” Li pointed out in his keynote. “By working with their industry partners, carriers can unlock more opportunities in this market.”

Level-4 autonomous vehicles are expected to hit the commercial market in 2025. They will require massive amounts of computing power and strong networks. An autonomous car generates hundreds of terabytes of data each day and needs to upload about one terabyte of that data to the cloud to support AI model training and algorithm updates.

Huawei is well aware of this and has been working with partners to support these huge demands for computing power on clouds and intelligent real-time computing. The connectivity and computing markets are expected to become promising areas of growth for carriers.

Taking Solid Steps to Shape the Future

Knowing the current and emerging use cases of 5G and the technologies it facilitates means relevant stakeholders can now map out what technological advances are needed now and in the near future.

In particular, Li doubled down on a previous point that customers will require new services and experiences in new scenarios. In response, carriers will need to upgrade their networks to 5.5G, in order to support 10 Gbps downlink, 1 Gbps uplink and 100 billion IoT connections.

“Huawei is ready to work with carriers and partners to develop innovative 5.5G technologies, verify them in real-world scenarios, and use them to meet the digitalisation needs of consumers and industries alike,” Li concluded. “So, let’s create new value with 5G to unleash digital dividends.”