To maximize the potential of 5G, it will be vital for the mobile industry to pursue the short term as well as the long term benefits of the next generation mobile technology, according to Huawei rotating chairman Ken Hu.
During a roundtable discussion at WEF 2018, Hu said the entire mobile equipment industry is ready for 5G deployment. He also noted that discussions about the major applications for 5G tend to be focused on the long term.
“When people talk about 5G, they talk about autonomous cars, smart manufacturing, connected drones, and things like that. I agree that those will be [major] applications after the next couple of years, particularly with future releases of 5G standards,” Hu said.
“However, we should focus more on the short-term: what we can do with 5G immediately? We need to take advantage of 5G, not just for the long term, but also for the short term. How can we speed up the deployment of 5G, and how can we encourage consumers and industry companies to embrace the technology and take advantage of it?”
Hu said Huawei plans to launch its first 5G smartphone in mid-2019. The device will introduce a foldable screen for the first time in a Huawei smartphone.
“So let's imagine, with much faster speed – 100x faster than today – you're going to enjoy an amazing high-definition video experience with a big screen on your smartphone,” he said.
Responding to a question about the increased capex and opex costs of deploying and maintaining 5G networks, Hu said the mobile industry has made costs a key consideration since starting 5G development ten years ago.
In terms of capex, Hu said vendors such as Huawei can “provide lots of innovative technology to help carriers greatly enhance the efficiency of their spectrum [and therefore] lower the cost of their data traffic.”
On the operational side, the industry is introducing emerging technologies such as AI to help simplify operations, including in aspects such as network configuration, helping to greatly reduce opex.
“Another part of end-to-end cost is the cost of spectrum resources and fiber optics. Here is the area where regulators in the government can help a lot. We hope that the government can help supply much more sufficient spectrum resources to the market, with more reasonable mechanisms and with lower costs. That will greatly help the industry to lower the end-to-end cost of 5G services,” he said.
“Also, we welcome more supportive policies to help carriers deploy more fiber optic cable underground with lower costs. When we talk about 5G, it's not just about air interface. It's not just a wireless technology; 5G is about end-to-end architecture.”
Finally, Hu noted that 5G will be more secure than 4G in every respect, including through switching from 128-bit to 256-bit encryption, and through the work of the 3GPP to develop a layered architecture for the protection of data transmission.