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  • Writer's pictureElise Quevedo

Predictions turned reality at Huawei’s 12th Global Mobile Broadband Forum in Dubai 2021

Huawei’s 12th annual MBBF (Global Mobile Broadband Forum) took place in Dubai, UAE for the first time this year. The perfect hot spot, as Dubai is a city of progress that is harnessing and embracing tech to drive a revolutionary vision for a smart city.

Her Excellency Aisha bin Bishr, Director General, Smart Dubai, last year said:

“The UAE as a whole has come a long way in embracing and the utilizing advanced technologies, establishing the Emirate as a global hub for technology and an exemplary smart city of the future”

With Dubai ranking fourth in the technology dimension, it was no surprise this Chinese technology giant chose it as its host this year.

The forum brought together major operators, industry partners, governments, regulators and top media and analysts from around the world to provide valuable 5G insights both in-person and virtually.

The theme this year, 5GrowsTogether. I attended the Global MBBF as a guest of Huawei UK to gain a wider understanding of future Huawei tech, their vision and plans.

During the Opening Keynote, Huawei Deputy Chairman Ken Hu called on the ICT industry to work together on the next stage of 5G Development. He spoke about progress with 5G and the next steps for growth. He reminded us that MBBF is a great platform to connect people across the mobile ecosystem, so we can work together to share the future of the industry.

Ken Hu said:

“In just 5 years, there are now more than 500 million 5G Users. Progress was much faster than expected, especially in terms of the subscriber base, network coverage, and sheer number of 5G terminals on the market

Looking at the bigger picture, 5G didn’t happen in a bubble. We are seeing rapid changes and advancements in the broader tech sector, in consumer habits, and the overall business environment”

Cloud and AI are musts

-81% of organizations around the world are using cloud computing and cloud-based applications

-AI helps create more value with data in the cloud

-Cloud and AI are driving demand for an upgrade in connectivity, for this to happen, network coverage and performance must improve.

Consumer mobile behavior is changing

-Mobile HV video has become the new norm

-In China HD video accounts for 54% of traffic on 5G Networks

-Wireless home broadband grew 20% globally during 2020

-The strongest market for 5G home broadband is the Middle East

Digital Transformation is growing at a faster pace

-The Pandemic accelerated digital transformation by 7 years

-AI as an example is speeding up vaccine development

Hu said the industry needs to get ready to go green.

According to the World Economic Forum, by 2030, digital technology can help reduce global carbon emissions by at least 15%. "On one hand," said Hu, "we have a great opportunity to help all industries cut emissions and improve power efficiency with digital technology. On the other hand, we have to recognize that our industry has a growing carbon footprint, and we have to take steps to improve that. Right now Huawei is using new materials and algorithms to lower the power consumption of our products, and we're remodeling sites, and optimizing power management in our data centers for greater efficiency.”

We have seen so many changes in the past two years – with the pandemic, technology, business and the economy," Hu concluded. "Moving forward, as the world begins to recover, we need to recognize the opportunities in front of us and get ready for them. Get our technology ready, get our businesses ready, and get our capabilities ready.”

10 Wireless Industry Trends

What will happen after 5G? David Wang, Executive Director of the Board and Chairman of ICT Infrastructure Managing Board talked about Roads to Mobile 2030 and shared 10 Wireless Industry Trends.

We can all agree, 5G Growth is Accelerating. I agree with Wang when he said that by 2030 the world will be changed. I grew up without technology and I got my first cellphone when I was 19 years old. As I delved into the world of emerging technologies and how they can help society, I never cease to be amazed at the marvels and advancements or what this industry can do.

If we all work and collaborate together, we can help society become smarter, more intelligent, more productive and more efficient.

Huawei says over 1.5 million 5G base stations have been deployed around the world, powering 176 commercial 5G networks and that there are currently more than 500 million users that have upgraded to a 5G experience.

As part of their mission, they have proposed “the Intelligent World 2030”. They believe that the physical and digital worlds will be more deeply integrated creating near-real-life experiences.

And here are 10 trends, they believe, will help us make that world a reality:

Trend 1: 10 Gbps for Physical-Digital Integration

AR and VR are already creating better simulated experiences, but the future will have virtual experiences that are even more real, more interactive, and more immersive. These advanced services will provide more channels for interaction between the virtual and physical worlds

Trend 2: One Network for 100Bn All-Scenario IoT

There will be over 100 billion thing-to-thing connections that will reshape digital society. NB-IoT has connected nearly 300 million things, but its maximum capacity is still limited. NR can provide the large bandwidth needed, but it is still not cost-effective enough for most scenarios. IoT connections are already increasing and requirements are rapidly diversifying. This creates many different connection speed requirements that need to be clearly categorized so we can meet them more precisely.

Trend 3: Satellite-Ground Collaboration for 3D Coverage

Standard mobile networks are often more efficient and powerful in densely populated areas, but satellites provide more economical coverage in less densely populated areas. Satellites cannot offer the capacity, deployment, and mobility advantages ground-based networks provide.

By combining satellites and standard networks, we will be able to cover 100% of the globe. Importantly, this will also create 3D coverage for near-ground space, making communications and control possible for aerial vehicles like drones and planes. Ultimately, this will further bridge the digital divide

Trend 4: Integrated Sensing and Communications for True Digital Replica

By integrating radio interfaces, both sensing and communications services can be provided efficiently over the same radio frequencies, allowing resources to be flexibly multiplexed. Through architecture integration, they will also be able to standardize sensing processes and data flow interfaces.

Ultra-wideband with Massive MIMO can achieve centimeter-level sensing. Multi-site collaboration of cellular systems and intelligent high-resolution algorithms can also be used to expand sensing scope and provide continuous sensing without blind spots.

Trend 5: Intelligence in Every Industry and Connection

With AI, mobile networks will be capable of Level-5 autonomous driving to support automated O&M, optimized performance, and smaller carbon footprints. AI technology will require even stronger capabilities such as channel coding and air interface resource management. At the same time, AI computing will become an inherent service carried by mobile networks. Ultimately, the goal is to improve performance and energy efficiency by 50%.

Trend 6: Full Link, Full-Lifecycle Green Networks

Energy consumption must be considered at all levels to create green networks that have 100 times higher energy efficiency per bit. In the future, energy efficiency will be as important as performance in base station equipment.

Trend 7: Flexible Full-Band Sub- 100GHz

They expect DOU to reach 600 GB by 2030, with over 50% of the world's traffic to be carried over cellular networks and 20% of home broadband services carried over WTTx

Trend 8: Generalized Multi-Antenna for Reduced Per-Bit Cost

Sustainable and healthy wireless networks will need more cost effective data transmission. Multi-antenna technologies are already helping us reduce per-bit transmission costs. So, all that is needed now is broader adoption. By 2030, these multi-antenna technologies will likely be used on every spectrum band

Trend 9: Security as Cornerstone for a Digital Future

In the future, simplified service security will be needed to achieve not only integrated protection at the network element layer, but also one-click threat handling at the network layer and one-stop service at the application layer. Secure and resilient mobile networks will require both intrinsic device security and intelligent and simplified security at the network layer

Trend 10: Mobile Computing Network for Device-Pipe-Cloud Collaboration

Mobile networks will have to become mobile computing networks. A mobile computing network will allow operators to flexibly enhance service experiences and develop new business models that integrate computing and network services; and it will significantly improve service efficiency across all industries

Fascinating to see how much has been accomplished and how much is yet to be done.

A Greener 5G Network for a Low-Carbon Future

A couple of years ago I was at the Brussels Green 5G Assembly where many predictions were made, and during Ryan Ding’s keynote (Huawei’s President of Carrier BG), I was pleased to see how things have evolved since then.

“The focus” he said “is on how we can create business value from 5G. In countries where 5G is developing faster, operators who have invested heavily in 5G have seen remarkable returns. 5G has become a new engine for operators' revenue and profit growth”

- Chinese operators deployed more than one million 5G base stations in less than 18 months.

- Had a 13.8% increase in revenue

- Had a 11.2% increase in EBITDA in the first half of 2021

How can the rest of the world learn from this? How have these operators achieved this growth in 5G user penetration? The operators quickly provided continuous coverage nationwide, giving users a consistent experience.

The operators have designed flexible service packages. Though 5G packages are priced higher than 4G, users pay less for each gigabyte of data and operators are getting a higher ARPU, so everybody wins.

The operators have kept evolving networks to deliver a Gigabit experience. As the number of individual users and FWA users increases, network traffic continues to grow rapidly. The operators can recoup investment in a short period of time. They can then reinvest into accelerating network construction by adding new NR carriers and evolving to SA. This forms a positive cycle of user growth, business returns, and network construction

Ding continued by saying that with high-quality 5G networks, more users will choose wireless connections, and the DoU will grow rapidly. They predict that the DoU will exceed 600 gigabytes by 2030.

Huawei incorporates green development into everything they do, and that is something that we can consistently hear them say often.Their four areas of focus to achieve this: power supply, distribution, use, and management.

The key takeaway from Ding:

“We need to add more renewables to the power supply mix and distribute power efficiently to support smooth 5G evolution. We also need to maximize the share of energy used by communications equipment. We can also introduce intelligent technologies to manage watts using bits and achieve synergy across entire networks. All of these measures will help build networks that deliver high performance with minimal energy consumption.”

The Mobile Industry: Thriving Together

A long term partner of Huawei, GSMA was present. Director Mats Granryd delivered a powerful keynote. He said that the vision at the GSMA is to unlock the full power of connectivity, so that people, industry and society thrive together.

“The mobile ecosystem, is a great enabler across whole economies as we look to accelerate the future that we are building together through intelligent connectivity” Granryd said

He reminded us the industry has 5.2 billion mobile subscribers and had made a $4.4 trillion contribution to the global GDP.

MBBF this year was closed by Yang Chaobin, President of Huawei Wireless Solution, who delivered a keynote speech titled "Innovation for 5Gigaverse Society”.

“As 5G commercial deployment enters a new phase, users need more continuous experience, and industry digitalization poses new requirements on 5G capabilities. Therefore, we believe that the next step is to evolve 5G from hotspot to all-scenario continuous coverage, from Gbps to 5Gigaverse, and from pilot industry to all-industry digitalization, to build a ubiquitous gigabit network and a 5Gigaverse society," said Yang.

He used the Tokyo Olympics to illustrate the changes in user behavior and industry digitization. How they pose higher requirements on 5G. The number of views through mobile devices increased by five times compared with 2012, while the amount of TV watching dropped by 50%.

Massive MIMO and ultra-wideband maximize macro coverage and capacity

Two years of commercial 5G deployment has proved that the Massive MIMO and ultra-wideband technologies can improve user experience by 10 times and have become the choice of most operators around the world.

Huawei also released the new 64TRX MetaAAU with improved performance and energy saving.

"Our brand-new MetaAAU introduces the extreme-large antenna array (ELAA) technology and the innovative AHR Turbo solution, marking a new breakthrough in Massive MIMO coverage and energy efficiency. Compared with the traditional AAUs with 192 antenna elements, ELAA features 384 antenna elements and is integrated with the ultra-light integrated array and SDIF technologies to improve both coverage and integration.

AHR Turbo, an adaptive high-resolution beamforming algorithm, enables the MetaAAU to be precise, dynamic, and targeted, greatly improving user experience and cell capacity. By now, this product has been put into commercial use in four cities by the three tier-1 operators in China.

MetaAAU provides 3 dB better coverage and 30% better user experience compared with 64T, and 6 dB better coverage and 60% better user experience compared with 32T. It allows base stations to achieve the same level of cell edge coverage with a lower transmit power, reducing energy consumption by about 30% compared with traditional AAUs.” said Yang

This Chinese Tech Giant provides the industry's only distributed Massive MIMO solution for 5G indoor ubiquitous Gbps experience

As last words, Yang said "Innovation will never stop. The next decade will be a decade of 5G. 5G will continue to evolve and innovate toward 5.5G. We hope to work with global partners to continuously innovate based on user experience and industry requirements to take user experience to new heights while digitally transforming industries."

My biggest takeaway, since the deployment of global 5G, is that predictions are turning reality and step by step we get closer to a fully connected, more intelligent world

Elise Quevedo

Author, Advisor, Storyteller

Named Top 50 Women in Tech Influencer 2021


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