Huawei’s rotating chairman Ken Hu dialed the 5G hype machine to full volume at a company event as he announced the shipment of Huawei’s first 10,000 5G base stations and outlined the company’s vision of the coming 5G “revolution” – provided regulators cooperate on matters of spectrum allocations and site access.
Speaking at Huawei’s Global Mobile Broadband Forum in London on Tuesday, Hu declared that 5G “will start a technology revolution” that will “bring new power to all ICT technologies, and trigger sweeping changes in business.”
Hu outlined five basic changes 5G will enable: it will turn connectivity into a platform; it will be the default connectivity for everything; the world will go all-cloud; devices will be redefined as “plug and think” as AI becomes pervasive; and our online experience will flow seamlessly through time, space, and devices.
“From all angles, 5G is ready,” Hu said. “It’s ready to use, it’s affordable, and most importantly, demand is real.”
The speech is in line with Huawei’s optimistic, visionary 5G message earlier this year at Mobile World Congress, although the vendor appeared to downplay that message at its analyst event in Shenzhen in April, when rotating CEO Eric Xu said that 5G was “just one product” of many its portfolio, and that “you don’t have a fundamental difference between 5G and 4G.”
Despite reverting to the upbeat revolutionary vision of 5G, Hu cautioned that barriers do remain – namely in the form of government policies regarding spectrum and site acquisition.
Hu called on governments to accelerate the process of “harmonizing and releasing continuous bands of large-bandwidth 5G spectrum”, and at prices lower than 4G. He also advised operators that they can (and should) eventually use all existing sub-6GHz spectrum – including 2.3 GHz and 2.6 GHz – for 5G.
Hu also encouraged governments to make more public resources available for site deployment: “Shared utility infrastructure, such as rooftops and light poles, can help carriers cut costs and time, and can even open up new revenue streams for public utilities.”
Hu made no mention of another potential barrier, at least for vendors – governments banning suppliers from bidding for 5G projects on national security grounds, as Australia and the US have done with Huawei and ZTE.