Huawei Rotating CEO Eric Xu: Giving 5G More Vitality and a Longer Life Cycle

Huawei Rotating CEO Eric Xu: Giving 5G More Vitality and a Longer Life Cycle

[Barcelona, February 28, 2017] At the Mobile World Congress 2017, Huawei Rotating CEO Eric Xu attended the GTI Summit and delivered a keynote speech entitled "Building 5G with More Vitality and Longer Life Cycle". He emphasized that we must remain committed to the ultimate goals of 5G, and boldly pursue technological innovation and transformation through in-depth cross-industry collaboration. Only by doing so can we realize 5G and live up to our historic mission.

Huawei Deputy Chairman and Rotating CEO Eric Xu delivered a keynote speech at the GTI Summit

As the 5G era edges closer, an increasing number of operators have released schedules for 5G commercial deployment. There are numerous challenges to be faced in terms of 5G standardization and industry development. The future of 5G development will be adversely affected if these challenges are not prudently addressed.

Challenges in 5G Industry Development

  • Divergent requirements and imbalanced development: Varying levels of development have led to inconsistent service requirements in different countries and regions. Telecom operators have different concerns and considerations about the market positioning and application of 5G. For example, the US anticipates that 5G will help to rapidly resolve the issue of "last-mile access" for households. Japan and Korea expect that 5G will help improve mobile Internet user experience. China is hoping that 5G will satisfy service demand in densely-populated commercial districts during public holidays through the incorporation of additional fiber optic cable resources and better utilization of existing spectrum resources. It remains a constant struggle to meet these divergent requirements. 
  • Debates about technology evolution and revolution: Technically speaking, 5G has not yet achieved a significant theoretical breakthrough. All current 5G research focuses on the Shannon theorem for further improvement, with many new technologies still undergoing further research. This has resulted in disagreements about the future roadmap for 5G. For this reason, discussions are ongoing about whether the industry needs technology evolution or revolution. There are also disagreements about the utilization of mature existing technologies or hastily introduced new technologies to address future requirements. 
  • Gap between rapidly growing user demand and technological readiness: Future mobile communication requirements have yet to be clarified. During initial heated discussions and research relating to 5G, connected vehicles and AR/VR have not achieved the expected level of popularity and have not been recognized as key 5G use cases. However, these applications are growing mature and require 5G to act as their enabler. It remains a major challenge to ensure 5G technology will be able to incorporate unknown new technologies throughout its entire life cycle.
  • Inadequate participation of vertical industries in the Internet of Things (IoT): Vertical industries hope that 5G can facilitate a real shift from user-to-user communication to ubiquitous connectivity of things, but industry participation toward such efforts has been lackluster. The key to IoT does not simply lie in networks, but is also strongly dependent on "things" themselves. Ubiquitous connectivity assumes a critical role in determining the future of IoT, which is a primary concern of the industries.
  • Uncoordinated cross-industry regulatory policies: Vertical industries currently have dedicated regulatory policies. If each industry goes its own way and does not consider mobile communication requirements, the IoT will be difficult to realize. 
  • Rapid progress vs. ultimate goals of 5G: During the development of 5G, the various transformations and demands will raise new requirements. As we address these issues, are we still focused on the ultimate goals of 5G? Some of the measures we take may compromise our longer-term aspirations.
  • Globally unified 5G standard: The entire industry must reach an agreement on a globally unified 5G standard. It remains a crucial challenge to ensure that the unified 5G standard effectively addresses diverse challenges while meeting divergent requirements.

Pursuing the Ultimate Goals of 5G

How the multiple challenges in 5G standardization and industry development are addressed depends heavily on what the ultimate goals of 5G are. The entire industry must work together to develop the 5G ecosystem and realize the goals of 5G. Without these efforts it will be impossible to find solutions to the inherent issues of this new technology. The 5G industry aspires to fulfill the following four objectives:

  • Improving mobile Internet user experience: If 5G fails to provide much better user experience than 4G, it will be difficult for 5G to maintain a secure industry foothold.
  • Promoting the shift to digitalization: 5G will effectively fulfill the mission of promoting digital transformation only through Ultra-Reliable and Low-Latency (uRLLC) and Massive Machine Type Communication (mMTC) services.
  • Exploring new business models: Operators' existing business models are relatively simple. In the future, 5G will necessitate new business models to help the telecom industry achieve sustainable business success. 
  • Increasing ICT adoption: 5G must penetrate into all facets of daily life to usher in a new exciting era of ubiquitous connectivity. 

Giving 5G More Vitality and a Longer Life Cycle 

The entire industry must live up to its historic mission: to give 5G more vitality and a longer life cycle. Only with greater vitality and a longer life cycle will 5G provide better returns on investment to investors. Four specific measures are recommended as follows:

  • Stay true to the mission. Bear in mind the established 5G targets and take proactive measures to address challenges without sacrificing long-term aspirations. 
  • Boldly pursue technological innovation and transformation, rather than overemphasizing technological evolution. Technological evolution plays an important role, but may have difficulties in meeting diversified requirements. If we do not achieve technological breakthroughs, it will be hard for 5G to enable an extensive range of application scenarios.
  • Maintain flexible standards and architecture to prepare for the incorporation of new technologies as well as new use cases and applications to meet future requirements.
  • Allow 5G to promote digital transformation in the entire industry. We must collaborate more within the telecom industry and across vertical industries to promote the standardization and development of the 5G industry.

Anticipation of GTI's Increasingly Active Role

GTI has had a considerable influence on the development of the 4G industry. Eric Xu emphasized his anticipation that GTI will play a more active role in the ongoing development of the 5G industry:

  • Steering the exploration of technological innovation aimed at moving the industry forward
  • Establishing an open platform for cross-industry collaboration
  • Promoting coordination of regulatory policies across industries and keeping them apace of the times
  • Supporting telecom operators in their efforts to work as key players in the era of ubiquitous connectivity

We must live up to our historic mission and continue our collaborative efforts to give 5G greater vitality and a longer life cycle. Only with greater vitality and a longer life cycle will 5G provide better returns on investment to investors.