The 2023 MBBF 5G industry summit: How do spectrum, eco-systems, services and innovation accelerate success in the 5G industry?

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Insight

In a fully packed room on day one at this year’s MBBF 5G industry summit, industry experts and operators gathered to discuss spectrum evolution, service and technologies development and innovations for continuously accelerating 5G success

The summit was comprised of James Chen, President of Global Sales Department of Huawei’s Carrier BG, Tariq Abadi, Executive Director for spectrum affairs at CERA, Henry Calbert, Head of Networks at GSMA, Joe Barrett, President of the Global Mobile Suppliers Association, Yoon Ho Choi, Vice President for New Business Development at LGU+, Rasham Rudiq, Senior Manager around RAN Evolution and Design at Du, Pan Guixin, Chief Innovation Officer at China Unicom Guangdong and Cullen Xu, Vice President from the Huawei 5G Product Line.

The session began with introductory presentations from each speaker, outlining each firm’s interesting opinions on the developments in 5G deployment worldwide.

First up was Huawei’s own James Chen, who spoke on the economic benefits of 5G. Having been launched just four years ago, there are now more than 1.5 billion subscribers who benefit from 5G services. Chen touched on three main areas to focus on in future:

  1. Spectrum – the lifeblood of the cellular network. More mid-bands will bring better user experience and more social value.
  2. The industry supply chain, which is becoming increasingly mature. The development of this will help to supply low cost, high performance 5G devices, essential for the wider deployment of 5G.
  3. Business success, to ensure that future demands, such as immersive experiences and ultra HD are able to be fulfilled with the high speeds and low latency nature of 5G.

 

Tariq Abadi, Executive Director for spectrum affairs at TDRA moves on to discuss the launch of 5G in the UAE, becoming one of the first counties in the region to launch it. Looking ahead, “The Arab region is looking for the new technologies and bringing to new countries. And we have so many different services and communications. Not only mobile, space, broadcasting, IoT, all these and these require spectrum now”. The spectrum requirement, Abadi notes, is a growing issue that must be addressed.

Henry Calbert, head of networks at GSMA, then confirmed that 5G is the fastest generational technology change that the mobile industry has ever seen, which is one of the main reasons why it’s so important to get the spectrum right. He emphasized the criticality of mid-bands by saying, “If mid-band spectrum is constrained, we will not reach the full economic potential of 5G”.

The audience then heard from Joe Barrett, the President of the Global Mobile suppliers Association, the association who represent the suppliers.

After also noting the importance of mid band spectrum for successful rollout, Barrett concludes by emphasizing the importance of price erosion of 5G CPEs. By 2025, 5G CPEs are expected to be equal to that of 4Gs, which is going to significantly drive the market.

Madjid Al Hadi, Optimization General Manager at Zain Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) shares Zain KSA’s experience in rolling out 5G in Saudi Arabia, which began in 2019.

This has brought both opportunities and challenges, such as the migration of up to 2 million potential customers in the KSA market. To combat these challenges, the company launched a product called FWA+, with 300 plus download speed, uplink of 50 Mbps, and lower latency between 20 to 30 milliseconds, serving both homes and businesses. He mentioned that innovative technology such as MetaAAU is one of the key factors for leading FWA experience.

Vice President for new business development at LGU+, Mr. Yoon Ho Choi, discusses the firm’s future vision to become the number one leader in mobility, through high speed and lower latency over the 5G network. Based on high-quality 5G network, their business of connected cars has been rapidly increased.

Rasham Rudiq, Senior Manager of RAN evolution and design at Du, discusses the success of 5G in the UAE from their network perspective. Rudiq notes that “Mainly the home wireless traffic has taken the share of pie, about 67%, and the wireless 5G has taken 60%.” But with their successes, there has been challenges, the main one being deep indoor coverage, which currently reaches around 75% Outdoor coverage is much less of a problem, reaching 95% at the moment.

“One of the beautiful solutions is the increase of the antenna element. Increasing the antenna element and keeping the same transmit power will create narrower beams which provides a deeper and longer coverage of the cell.” This referred to the ELAA technology brought out by Huawei.

Mr. Pan Guixin, Chief Innovation Officer from China Unicom Guangdong. China Unicom Guangdong’s mission in the 5G sphere is set in stone: they want to be a leader in the digital and intelligent transformation.

“In this very early stage, we can achieve 60-70% terminal cost reduction for customers. And 5G RedCap retains sufficient uplink and no latency capabilities which are particularly important in the manufacturing industry.  This year, we plan to deploy 10,000 5G RedCap sites in Foshan, Guangzhou and Shenzhen enabling 5G RedCap to better serve the digital transformation of the whole society including small and medium enterprises.”

Cullen Xu, Vice President of Huawei 5G Product Line, then confirms the sheer scale of the 5G market, which has 10 times the industry scale of 4G.

“Globally for the commercial 5G networks you’ll see that TDD midband is mainstream, and TDD mid-bands and M-MIMO are the best combination of 5Gspectrum and technologies”. He also mentioned that the ELAA technology is becoming a mainstream evolution direction of 5G technologies. Ultra-large arrays provide wider coverage, better experience, and lower energy consumption. Huawei is moving ELAA towards ultra-high bandwidth, increased simplification, and greener improvements, with the launch of its high-bandwidth MetaAAU and Meta BladeAAU, which implement “0 Bit 0 Watt” technologies, laying a solid technical foundation for GigaGreen.

The panel discussion then followed. Joe Barret of GSA and Madjid Al Hadi returned to the stage, and were joined by Tyler Yang, Vice President of Huawei’s product line and Mr. Willy Wang, Vice President at Asiatelco.

From a vendor’s perspective, Tyler adds that 5G FWA is already verified and has successful use cases. One of the many challenges, is how to balance the experience between the MMB user and the FW user. “We can provide guaranteed experience FWA services based on the 5G network, and we will see the FWA will become a big industry in the 5G area.”

Willy Wang adds to this, explaining that the FWA speed already exceeds more than 100 Mbps, and together with the network deployment move from 5G to 5G Advanced and not only replace the low copper but also for the truly fiber alternative even gigabits bps experience will turn into reality. He concludes that the FWA terminal will have nearly 67% annual growth rates for the next five years.

Moving on to discuss some potential issues, Barret confirms:

“Spectrum is a key issue. The mmWave would be a key spectrum band for fixed wireless access because there’s such a large amount of spectrum there. It’s been slow to take off generally in that area. We’re seeing more mmWave devices coming to market. But spectrum is something that’s going to be key as we’ve seen the requirement just growing exponentially. The more you deliver, the more they will use.”

This is less of a problem for Madjid in the Middle Eastern market. “From our point of view, it’s a different aspect. It’s about spectrum efficiency. In the KSA, we have good bandwidth. We’re talking about a continuous band, very good. The challenge is how to maintain the growth and keep going. We need to maximize the spectrum efficiency and uplink and latency. So these are the main factors. We need to focus more and maximize our spectrum efficiency and we need to ensure that both B2B and B2C are both getting the desired service as per need.”

From Tyler’s perspective, his biggest issue is the price of the CPEs, which as confirmed by everyone on the panel, and indeed throughout the conference, is getting lower and will meet industry need in the near future especially after low-cost CPE like RedCap CPE launch.

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Also in the news:
KPN outlines new €4.5bn network investment plan
Vodafone Germany accelerates railway 5G deployment 
nexfibre releases rollout plans 

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