Lan Yun, president, Carrier Network Business Group (CNBG), Huawei Middle East tells CommsMEA how Huawei is working towards creation of new opportunities for the telcos.
CommsMEA: What do you consider to be the main challenges faced by telcos today?
By 2025, the number of connections worldwide is expected to grow to 100 billion, driven by the demand for full connectivity of people, things, and businesses. As such, telcos must provide the infrastructure necessary for the IoT and M2M communication, which would require massive investments to meet the increase in number of connections.
Secondly, moving beyond voice communications to mobile broadband is a challenge that must be overcome if the industry is to grow. Moving into the developing cloud computing market is another important hurdle to overcome. Finally, telcos must be ready to react to the massive increase in mobile network traffic caused by changing industries.
CommsMEA: How is Huawei helping telcos to overcome these challenges?
As broadband penetration deepens, the user experience will shift dramatically as more consumers come online. To help telcos cope, Huawei is creating new products, services, architectures and technologies which allow operators to develop a future-oriented single network strategy.
In 2015, we invested 15 percent of our revenue in R&D, and around 45 percent of our total worldwide workforce is focused on this area. Our main priority is the challenges of 4.5G, 5G, IoT, Big Video, cloud, digital transformation, and smart devices. Through investment and rigorous real-world testing, we’re making sure our customers get the best outcome for the challenges they face.
In the fully connected age, the user experience will be driven by usage scenarios. Huawei cloud-pipe-device synergy, coupled with Big Data and AI, will make it possible to identify the scenarios in which users are involved, and then deliver the most desirable services by utilising integrated resources from the entire ecosystem.
Huawei’s Big Initiatives are designed to create new opportunities. The five Big Initiatives are Big Video – Everywhere, Big IT – Enabling, Big Operation – Agile, Big Architecture – Elastic, Big Pipe – Ubiquitous.
CommsMEA: Are there any technologies that haven’t been exploited by telcos, but which have the potential to boost their revenues significantly?
Big data is one technology that has a lot more to offer the market’s main players. We work closely with our telco partners to understand and consult on their strategy, so we see first-hand how the potential for big data isn’t being realised.
Big Data Analytics (BDA) is one solution we’ve developed to help telcos get more from the data they accumulate. The business-driven platform allows them to overcome the most common challenges, such as how to exploit data assets and capabilities to drive innovation.
With the right strategy, big data can become a major force as operators transform their business to prepare for a competitive future.
CommsMEA: How is Huawei contributing to skill development for the telcos?
We help develop the skills of telcos by enabling of their people. Huawei has a history of investing in local talent through knowledge-sharing educational alliances and training centres from the university level up to advanced technical courses.
Specifically, our Seeds for the Future programme develops the practical skills of students in KSA, UAE and other regions who want to enter the ICT industry in the future. In this way, we are making sure the market is in safe hands.
Additionally, through our regional innovation centres we partner with telcos to help them build for the future. For example, we worked alongside Etisalat Group for our Joint Innovation Lab, which specialised in progressing 5G and IoT.
CommsMEA: Huawei has been a strong advocate of 4.5G. Could you tell more about it?
4.5G has laid a solid foundation for the commercialisation of 5G. The technology allows operators to deliver a progressively better user experience as they work towards the launch of 5G in 2020. In the region, we’re already implementing the technology in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi, among other areas.
In July, Huawei had launched 4.5G Experience-driven Mobile Backhaul White Paper. The 4.5G mobile backhaul solution features agile deployment, large bandwidth, and experience-driven O&M. The innovative seamless MPLS+ networking solution is adopted to simplify network protocols and achieve agile deployment. With the MPLS+ solution, a network consisting of up to 100,000 nodes can be set up in a single domain and is able to establish X2 connections as required by base stations.
The 4.5G mobile backhaul solution provides 10 Gbit/s site access capability and large throughput, to cope with frequent traffic bursts caused by videos. Services can be automatically switched to light-loaded links when congestion occurs, greatly reducing the E2E service delay. Experience-driven O&M detects customer KQIs and network KPIs (precision reaches 10-6) in real time to implement efficient fault demarcation and locating. User experience analysis changes from passive mode to active mode. Even minor changes on the network can be detected to avoid partial congestion.
CommsMEA: What is Huawei’s progress so far on the journey towards 5G?
In May of this year we successfully completed the first phase of important outdoor 5G field trials in China with the help of the IMT-2020 5G Promotion Group. The tests proved that 5G air interface technology can improve spectrum efficiency – in other words, the rate of information that can be transmitted over a bandwidth. For phase 2, we will focus on coverage, high hotspot capacity, and large, reliable connections with low latency and reduced power consumption.
Another recent step forward was the opening of the 5G Innovation Centre at the University of Surrey, which Huawei co-founded. The centre has been set up to analyse and measure how 5G is directly affecting the subscriber experience, and to clarify just what the 5G experience will be.
CommsMEA:How did the Middle East fare in the Global Connectivity Index 2016?
In the Middle East, Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia are witnessing the biggest GDP growth in relation to their improving GCI performance. These three countries are focused on increasing the demand for ICT developments to digitise more industries, which leads to a much stronger economy.