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Huawei Services Bring the Best 5G Into Reality

Steven Wu, President of Consulting & Service Solution Sales Dept., Carrier BG, Huawei

4G has changed how people live, but 5G is changing society. The technologies that have given us 5G here and now are only the beginning. What will make customers embrace 5G with open arms depends on what services are delivered, and what benefits they can bring.

We have already seen the first fruits of 5G development. Operators in the UK have delivered VR live sport experience; millions of Chinese consumers watched the 4K VR gala show during the Chinese New Year delivered by the three leading mobile operators, to name but two recent examples. In both cases, Huawei provided the technology.

In addition to enhanced entertainment experience for consumers, 5G also enables opportunities for telecom operators to serve other industries with new technological possibilities, such as network slicing. China Telecom was speaking for all the industry when, at Huawei's Mobile Broadband Forum in London, it called 5G a watershed moment to open the doors for telecom operators to serving other verticals properly.

However, none of these benefits of 5G, for consumers or for industries, could come without costs. Telecom operators need to believe it is a viable business for them to deliver 5G and deliver it as fast as possible.

In most markets, 5G will be deployed on high frequency bands and therefore will need more sites than previous generations. This situation is exacerbated when most operators will run multi-generational networks, keeping 3G/4G/5G networks all live in the near future. As a result, costs on site acquisition and power consumption will go up, as will other operational costs, including site planning, labour, and extended time to market.

On power consumption, a like-for-like comparison will show that a full capacity 64T64R configured 5G basestation will consume more power than a similar configured 4G one. Coupled with our calculation that 5G's site density will be higher than 4G, we are seeing very high incremental on the operators' recurring cost.

This increased site density as well as 5G's higher sensitivity to interference will also require site selection to be more precise, which in turn will add to the complexity of site planning as well as demand complete site data. All these factors combined will then add pressure to the time to market.

But there are solutions for these challenges. Huawei, on the back of its world leading position in 4G as well as its continued success in 5G, has much to contribute. It has developed and matured a suite of technologies and tools to address these issues, and therefore deliver a positive impact on operators' return on investment (ROI).

Starting with site acquisition, as 4G will continue to be most operators' basic network, planning 4G and 5G together is critical and is also the most cost-effective approach. Huawei's 4G/5G co-planning and co-optimization tools can increase site selection precision by up to 10%. This is helped both by an ingenious invention and by Huawei's strong AI capability. A 360-degree camera has been applied to be able to mount on the field engineer's phone to panorama-scan the site and then effectively bring the sites into the office, thereby eliminating unnecessary site visits whilst improving health and safety. The Site Digital Twins are also used to speed up and simplify 5G rollout.

Backed by such plans, Huawei is able to reduce the site's time to market by 30%, using its digital engineering solution and platform. For example, 3,000 sites were rolled out in South Korea within one month.

When the sites are up and running, Huawei's industry leading radio propagation technologies can continue to improve efficiency by bringing up 3D simulation accuracy by 15%. This, combined with 3D model simulation and optimization capacity, can increase the massive MIMO capacities by 10% without hardware additions. Moreover, Huawei's minimization of drive test technology will improve the site maintenance efficiency by up to six-fold.

Another key area that operators look for in terms of cost optimisation is power consumption. Huawei's technologies, backed by strong AI analytics, are already able to switch off TRXs when they are not being used. This has on average reduced site power consumption by 15%. However, with improved AI-enabled analytics of usage patterns to cell level, power consumption can be further reduced. For example, data analytics shows that the sites by the railway lines are only used in 5% of the time when the TRXs are switched on between the time the train approaches and departs the site's coverage. Switching the site, including supporting facilities, when it is idle will take the industry closer to our target of "zero-bit, zero-watt."

More efficiency can also be achieved in the operation and maintenance phase. In a typical multi-generational network, layers and generations of management and maintenance systems are simultaneously in use, making network management both complex and prone to error. Huawei's leading technologies, including strong AI capabilities and its rich experience in delivering more than 200 managed service projects, have enabled it to help operators vastly simplify and automate the processes. After digitising the clients' complete network assets, Huawei can use its AUTomation and INtelligence ("AUTIN") solution to make it more straightforward to view alarm root cause and produce alarm suppression analytics. As a result, Huawei has helped clients halve the fault resolution time from 6 hours to 3 hours.

However, a world leading 5G network alone will not deliver a world leading 5G service. No one party can do everything alone. That is why Huawei is supporting operators to nurture a rich 5G ecosystem. The Digital Transformation Practice Centre (DTPC) is an incubator for thirrd party partners, providing them with a simulated 5G environment to develop, test, and mature their business ideas.

All the expertise, leading technologies and solutions as well as Huawei's track record have won the trust from clients, which is epitomized in the commercial success Huawei has achieved in 5G. So far, Huawei has shipped over 40,000 5G sites in different parts of the world, including over 10,000 sites rolled out in Korea. In total, Huawei has signed more than 30 5G commercial contracts across Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

— Steven Wu, President of Consulting & Service Solution Sales Dept., Carrier BG, Huawei

This blog is sponsored by Huawei.

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