Huawei Pledges £374m Towards 5G Research

Huawei says 5G networks offering speeds of 10Gbps should be ready by 2020

Huawei has pledged to invest $600 million into the research and development of new 5G technologies over the next five years and has predicted that the first such networks will be available for commercial deployment in 2020.

Speaking at the Huawei Global Mobile Broadband Forum in London, rotating CEO Eric Xu explained that the investment did not include the money Huawei would be spending on creating 5G-compatible products, which would be capable of delivering peak data rates of 10Gbps, one hundred times faster than 4G.

“Innovation is a continuous journey,” said Xu, who said the company had been working on 5G since 2009, and showed off 50Gbps prototype base stations at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in 2011 and 2012.

Huawei 5G Plans

Huawei Mobile Broadband Forum (2) (800x600)Huawei is adopting a collaborative approach towards the development of 5G and has worked with the EU’s research programme, along with research projects at 20 universities around the world and is one of the partners of the 5G Innovation Centre at the University of Surrey. However Xu warned there is still a long way to go before 5G is a commercially viable option.

“There are several issues that must be resolved before 5G can become a reality,” he said. “These include the availability of spectrum and technological challenges, such as how to engineer network architectures capable of handling increasingly higher data volumes and transmission speeds necessary to accommodate more users on the network.

“We have already achieved many technical breakthroughs in 5G research and innovation, but the majority of the work remains ahead of us.”

Xu added that Huawei would continue to develop 4G technologies and make use of small cells and unlicensed spectrum to improve mobile broadband services, while he said that the company would pursue a dual copper-fibre strategy in fixed broadband.

This includes the manufacturer’s G.Fast technology, a faster version of DSL that is capable of speeds of 1Gbps on existing copper infrastructure for a distance of up to 250 metres, reducing the cost for operators.

Huawei has pledged to invest £1.3 billion in the UK as part of an ongoing relationship, and recently revealed plans to open a new R&D centre in the UK alongside its existing facility near Ipswich.

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