For the much-hyped next generation of cellular technology, 5G, the first major commercial use case for the emerging technology could be delivering broadband to consumers presently underserved or poorly served by fixed networks, according to Huawei.
Huawei set out its views at its Mobile Broadband Forum in Tokyo, held on 24 November, which opened with a spectacular audiovisual and robo-acrobatics display — humans dancing on stage in company with a large robot — and a new acronym, WTTx: wireless to the everything. It sums up Huawei’s promotion of 5G technologies as the solution for all future communication needs.
Huawei defines WTTx as “a wireless broadband access solution based on LTE and evolution technologies with performance comparable to fixed broadband access.”
Ken Hu, Huawei’s deputy chairman and rotating CEO, delivered the opening keynote address to the forum saying: “We believe that WTTx will be the first major commercial use case for 5G.” He added: “I firmly believe that in the future, all services will be delivered through mobile applications.”
Mats Granryd, director general of the GSMA, cosponsor of the event, told the forum: “We believe commercial 5G solutions will be readily available by the end of 2019 or early 2020.”
Huawei sees a huge untapped market for WTTx delivering broadband to the home. According to Hu, there are about two billion households in the world only 700 million of which have broadband connections, and 300 million of these have connections with bandwidths below 10Mbps.
“These 1.6 billion households [with no or low bandwidth broadband] will be the perfect blue ocean for wireless broadband,” he said.
Huawei says model-based calculations and research studies on typical country markets indicate that “about 320 to 410 million household users can afford WTTx in intensely competitive markets around the world.”
Huawei claims WTTx has considerable advantages over fixed technologies, and that data rates will be comparable to those that can be achieved over fibre. It points to coverage of up to 30kms radius from a single base station and significantly lower costs because there are no civil works required to install cables.
Not surprisingly, Huawei says mobile operators are in pole position to exploit WTTx. “They can make use of the existing sites, saving a lot of time and leasing costs. In addition network capacity utilisation is low in many areas and accordingly WTTx becomes an efficient way to supplement the network pipe and quickly increase revenue. This can bring stable revenue for operators with basically zero cost, at the same time enhancing loyalty.”
The author travelled to Mobile Broadband Forum as a guest of Huawei.