Light Reading

Huawei CEO Pledges 5G R&D Investment

Ray Le Maistre

LONDON -- Huawei Global Mobile Broadband Forum -- Huawei's acting CEO Eric Xu outlined his company's strategy and focus in key areas of the global telecom sector in a keynote address in London Tuesday morning, focusing on 4G, 5G, software-defined networking (SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV), and OSS/BSS transformation. (See Huawei Names New Acting CEO.)

5G investment, 4G enhancements
With a near-global foothold already in 4G network rollouts, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is now preparing to invest heavily in 5G, which is set to deliver (theoretical) multimode mobile broadband connection speeds of up to 10 Gbit/s per user. (See Huawei Sets Out Its 5G Stall.)

Xu said Huawei would pump $600 million into 5G research in the 2014-2018 timeframe, "not including the investment needed to productize 5G."

The company is also working on 4G enhancements, with a view to helping network operators make use of unlicensed spectrum for LTE services. "Unlicensed spectrum is not just for WiFi," noted Xu.

Backhaul ripe for SDN
Along with all other major (and minor) infrastructure vendors, Huawei is focusing on the potential of SDN with its SoftCOM developments. (See Huawei Adds to Its SDN Arsenal and Huawei Unfolds SDN Roadmap.)

Unlike many of its rivals, though, Huawei has an active and growing enterprise technology business that gives it a broader perspective into IT-centric developments: The other vendor with a similar perspective, and with a head start on most others in terms of telco SDN developments, is NEC Corp. (Tokyo: 6701).

Xu noted that there is a consensus that SDN is of use in datacenters, but "there is no consensus about the role of SDN in telecom networks."

The key impact of SDN for telcos can be in helping them reduce operating costs (opex), said Xu, who believes that IP-based backhaul is the first part of telecom networks where SDN can have a real impact, "especially for networks that have a significant number of nodes… SDN can make troubleshooting in backhaul networks much easier." (See Huawei Supports SDN in Mobile Backhaul.)

Huawei isn't alone in targeting backhaul as an initial focus for SDN in telco networks. (See Accedian Networks Launches SDN Product Line and SDN Can Close Backhaul Spending Gap.)

Ultimately, SDN capabilities will be utilized across the entire telco network, with Huawei expecting the SDN-enabled network topology of communications service providers to be different to that of the Internet services giants such as Google (Nasdaq: GOOG).

Xu said that telcos can take advantage of their (fixed and mobile) broadband access network assets by building distributed datacenters. "They can use their broadband networks to get closer to their customers, and this can be achieved with distributed datacenters, which are logically centralized but physically distributed."

To help telcos build such networks and to embrace NFV, Huawei is pushing its FusionSphere solution, which includes a cloud operating system and hypervisor "that offers an alternative to VMware," explained Xu.

A new breed of OSS/BSS
Xu referred a number of times to the critical need for new OSS and BSS capabilities and strategies: Without a significant transformation of their back office systems, telcos will be unable to compete with their Internet services rivals, he noted.

Telcos need to introduce "real-time OSS, online BSS systems, and big data analytics," said the Huawei man. "We must transform the legacy IT into an enabling system" that enables all services and applications to be on demand, self-service, and bought using online transactions, he said. "This is the transformation that can have the greatest impact" for telcos, which need to "copy the DNA" of the Internet services giants in terms of the way they offer and provision services.

Such a transformation can accelerate the telcos' time to market, improve the customer experience, and help the network operators "connect people to people, people to machines, and machines to machines," said Xu.

— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
User Rank: Moderator
11/6/2013 | 4:50:47 PM
Re: maybe it was the audience...
I tend to agree with your analysis and Huawei's identification of areas to develop.  5G is way-out there for deployment but from an R&D side, if it is to be ready by 2020 - 2024 might as well start defining what you want it to be.  In SDN for backhaul, with the OpenFlow included for remote management of the SDN virtualization for remote locations, I can see this use case happening.  Finally, the O/BSS, I am extra concerned about the 3 major initiatives (a - IMS for LTE vs SOA of wireline legacy which is contending with VoIP/UCC/OTT for transition to All-IP networks b - SDN/NFV element and service management moved into modeling c - All of the perpetual software licenses almost gone, many must move to Cloud/IaaS/PaaS/SaaS for their O/BSS being hosted by a tier one operator or a vendor who is operating the massive amount of moving parts).

If not these initiatives, what will the equipment manufactures be selling when they start end-of-life 4G/LTE in 2020.
User Rank: Light Sabre
11/5/2013 | 2:15:00 PM
Promises, promises....
5G?  Okay, let's bring the conversation back down to earth.  Outside the US carriers are struggling to put a biz plan together to justify the spend on 4G LTE.  It's been slow, and with the economic issues going on outside of our own, there is no rush to push past 3G which is fine for most folks - maybe not us.  And at this point we all know that current 4G started out as marketing hype since real 4G was supposed to deliver DL speeds around 50MBPS on a fully loaded network.  Yeah, let's talk 5G now....not.
User Rank: Blogger
11/5/2013 | 11:45:58 AM
maybe it was the audience...
So Eric Xu was speaking at a Huawei event to a room full of Huawei customers and partners etc -- but still I expected his presentation to be more generic, more flim-flam but he did actually crystalize some points about the areas Huawei thinks are important and where it will focus its R&D efforts.

It was all on message etc but it was still interesting, and you can't say that about evey CEO you hear speak these days.
From The Founder
Steve Saunders provides an overview of white box networking and introduces a new "slim line" version of the OSI 7-layer model.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Between the CEOs
Centec on Ethernet Switching

11|26|15   |   09:58   |   (0) comments

Centec CEO James Sun talks to Steve Saunders about Ethernet switching and the white box revolution.
LRTV Custom TV
Delivering Service Agility in the Virtualization Era

11|25|15   |   5.41   |   (0) comments

Interview with Massimo Fatato, WW OSS Business Lead, Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
Wagner’s Ring
How Might Open Source Fail?

11|24|15   |     |   (9) comments

Open source, SDN, and NFV are looking inevitable – but performance, standards proliferation and regulatory capture could derail the movement.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Lifecycle Orchestration – a Fresh Vision for Telco

11|23|15   |   6.40   |   (0) comments

Simon Osborne, CTO Comptel, and Heavy Reading's Caroline Chappell reveal the business impacts of new SDN and NFV, and what the term service orchestration actually means. Together they define Lifecycle Service Orchestration and how the virtualized future will look for telecoms operators.
Between the CEOs
Cisco's Virtual Role in Saudi

11|20|15   |   12:15   |   (2) comments

Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders talks with Zayan Sadek, Regional Manager at Cisco Systems, about the competitive communications services market and advance of virtualization in Saudi Arabia.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Leads With Kubernetes for Cloud PaaS

11|19|15   |   08:26   |   (0) comments

Huawei is looking to Kubernetes as a key tool for building robust open source technologies for customers and partners, said Ying Xiong, chief architect of cloud platform at Huawei, in an interview with Light Reading West Coast Bureau Chief Mitch Wagner at the recent Kubecon conference.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
WiC in London: The Highlight Reel

11|19|15   |   5:33   |   (1) comment

NetCracker's Mervat El Dabae headlines an inspiring morning in London with help from leading women from Vodafone, TalkTalk, Hyperoptics and Ciena.
LRTV Documentaries
Why Saudi's So Hot for New Tech

11|19|15   |   05:07   |   (0) comments

Light Reading's Steve Saunders reports from Saudi Arabia, a hyper-competitive market desperate to embrace the next generation of communications technologies and services.
LRTV Custom TV
Why Data Models Deliver More Value Than Information Models

11|19|15   |   5.08   |   (0) comments

Stefan Vallin argues that more automation is needed to manage end-to-end services and the hybrid networks they run on, and that data models are key to achieving this.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
SDN Management & Orchestration in the WAN

11|17|15   |   7.20   |   (0) comments

Carol Wilson and Packet Design CTO Cengiz Alaettinoglu discuss CSPs' SDN service delivery and assurance requirements. Learn about a modular approach to building automated control, orchestration and management functions for the WAN that are policy- and analytics-driven.
LRTV Custom TV
Flash Networks: Optimizing for Radio Spectral Efficiency

11|17|15   |   3:34   |   (0) comments

Today most optimization vendors only focus on optimizing voice or data. Ofer Gottfried, Flash Networks' CTO, shows how improving data throughput and maximizing spectral efficiency reduces capital and operating expenses while also providing a platform for user engagement.
LRTV Custom TV
Making Pay-TV User Experiences Millennial-Friendly

11|16|15   |   6:42   |   (0) comments

The unique challenge of reaching and engaging Millennials is driving pay-TV video experience transformation that can include higher quality UIs, viewing of multiple content streams at once and seamless transitions between handheld devices and the television.
Allot MobileTrends Report H2/2015 reveals how daily online behavior can be used to discover smarter ways to profile customers and propose valuable, real-time offers to them.
Hot Topics
Samsung to Sell Wireless Networking Unit?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/23/2015
Samsung: No Sale of Wireless Unit
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/25/2015
Sprint, Verizon Face Reorganization, Job Cuts
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/20/2015
Sprint to Get $1.2B From New Leasing Venture
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/23/2015
How Might Open Source Fail?
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 11/24/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
December 15, 2015
Virtualizing Cable Services
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Centec CEO James Sun talks to Steve Saunders about Ethernet switching and the white box revolution.
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders talks with Zayan Sadek, Regional Manager at Cisco Systems, about the competitive communications services market and advance of virtualization in Saudi Arabia.
Cats with Phones
Can't Find the Phone on Thanksgiving? Click Here
Check under the cat! (hint: bottom right)
Live Digital Audio

Broadband speeds are ramping up across Europe as the continent, at its own pace, follows North America towards a gigabit society. But there are many steps to take on the road to gigabit broadband availability and a number of technology options that can meet the various requirements of Europe’s high-speed fixed broadband network operators. During this radio show we will look at some of the catalysts for broadband network investments and examine the menu of technology options on offer, including vectoring and for copper plant evolution and the various deployment possibilities for FTTH/B.