PRESS RELEASE: At MWC Barcelona 2024, Huawei held the 5G Industry Evolution Summit together with leading operators, industry partners, and opinion leaders from around the world.

The summit was themed “Building Premium Networks for the 5.5G Era”, with the discussions focusing on the upgrade of the 5G industry, ways to quickly improve the quality and double the quantity of mobile connections, and the use of GigaGreen solutions to establish a solid foundation for 5.5G basic networks.

James Chen, President of Huawei Carrier Sales Dept, kicked off the summit with a speech, in which he noted the contribution ofv 5G has made to social and economic development and the benefits that it has brought to users, homes, and enterprises. Technological evolution presents both challenges and opportunities for service upgrades and the industry chain. 5G supports the huge bandwidth and low latency needed for the robust development of immersive, HD video, and XR services.

James Chen, President of Huawei Carrier Sales Dept, giving the opening speech

FWA and RedCap have shown great potential in enhancing connections and facilitating the provisioning of diverse IoT services. The 5G device industry ecosystem is thriving and growing at an unprecedented rate, and this adds weight to Huawei’s calls for greater industry-wide efforts to enrich 5G and 5.5G applications that can bring greater value to society. Chen believes that innovations are the catalyst for new connections, experiences, and businesses, and that “it is therefore vital to building simplified, efficient, and green 5G networks”. He concluded that 5.5G is a new opportunity to deliver high-speed connections for all.

Over the past 5 years, 5G has driven eight key changes in the industry, networks, and technologies, which are helping us accelerate ever faster towards 5.5G. In his keynote speech titled “Pave the Road to 5.5G, 8 Wireless Industry Facts”, Ritchie Peng, President of Huawei 5G&LTE TDD Product Line, outlined these changes, while emphasizing Huawei’s unwavering commitment to helping operators build multi-carrier high-performance 5.5G networks through relentless innovations in extremely large antenna array (ELAA), green, and intelligent technologies.

Ritchie Peng, President of Huawei 5G&LTE TDD Product Line, giving a keynote speech

These eight changes have already made big waves within the industry. 5G experiences are far superior to 4G experiences, leading to the development of a plethora of booming immersive, higher-definition applications, such as cloud gaming and multipoint videos. 5G is driving new business growth, transforming the process of monetization. 5G is also driving new growth in global connections, with RedCap and passive IoT technologies maturing to extend connections to all scenarios. Multi-carrier networks are increasingly becoming a new favor, and the multi-band network ecosystem is maturing very rapidly. mmWave has become essential for 5.5G, with mmWave HAAU overcoming the coverage and mobility challenges of ensuring a consistent experience. ELAA has been upgraded to feature stronger band support and more antenna elements, and therefore it has become essential for delivering ubiquitous 5.5G xGbps. “0 Bit 0 Watt” is becoming a new benchmark for green networks. Telecom foundation models and digital twin systems are bringing the industry ever closer to L4 network intelligence.

“Huawei will continue to work with operators and other partners to foster a thriving industry ecosystem through innovation, to accelerate the arrival of a new era of commercial 5.5G,” said Peng.

The summit also featured presentations from the GSMAi and leading operators, who shared their best practices and insights on new experiences, connections, and businesses enabled by 5G.

Tim Hatt, Head of Research and Consulting at GSMAi, shared his views on the future growth of 5G. In his speech titled “In search of growth, Tapping the ‘new’ and ‘next’ of 5G”, he noted how quickly the 5G industry has been growing and also how diverse service upgrades can help improve the quality and double the quantity of connections. From his perspective, XR, FWA and IoT are all promising areas of development, and 5.5G will improve B2B services. “Together, they will enable operators to boost business monetization,” said Hatt.

5G business monetization requires broad collaboration. This message was underscored by Ali Al Awadi, Head of Infra Commercial & Business Development at du UAE, in his keynote speech titled “5G Ubiquitous Gigabit Experience, Accelerating New Service Upgrade, and Monetizing Businesses”. He spoke about how du UAE has been able to create tremendous business value by investing in 5G owing to its broad strategic collaborations and industry partnerships. He also explained the fundamental role and effect of spectrum segmentation in the evolution from 5G to 5.5G.

Fixed wireless access (FWA) offers operators new ways to maximize wireless connections. Zain Saudi Arabia spoke about its FWA business growth at the summit. In his speech titled “Zain – Leading FWA Market, Pioneer for 5G FWA Industry”, Majed Alkhaldi, the Technology Optimization General Manager from Zain KSA, attributed the company’s success in providing premium user experiences to its aggressive pursuit of top-quality FWA networks, as well as other technologies, like RedCap. “These and other new technologies clearly enabled us to overcome the challenges of 4G migration,” he said.

Expanding into a wider array of industries places higher demands on 5G networks and makes it particularly important for 5G operators to move to 5.5G as quickly as possible. China Unicom is one among these operators that has amassed a wealth of experiences in 5GtoB domains, where 5G technology is heavily used in businesses. According to Jing Lei, the general manager of industrial Internet BU at China Unicom, with the 2024 commercial launch of 5.5G, China Unicom will further accelerate 5.5G commercialization and pilot passive IoT, RedCap, and URLLC. “These will enable us to enhance our network capabilities to the levels required to provide new 5G services,” said Jing in his speech titled “5.5G Commercialization Accelerates to Enable Industries”.

Brennen Smith, VP of Technology at Ookla, a firm specializing in the analysis of access performance metrics, shared his third-perspective insights on how network construction standards are adapting to the rapid growth of diverse services. 5G is transforming connections by offering higher speeds, lower latency, and reliable experiences to boost customer satisfaction and retention. He believes that we still have a long way to go before we see the full potential of both 5G and 5.5G. He reminded that “as a global telecom community, we are obliged to provide a better experience of connectivity for all.”

Nothing can be attained without strong networks. For this, benchmark operators Telecom Argentina and Telkomsel Indonesia, who built a high-quality 5.5G GigaGreen network through Massive MIMO-verse to enable excellent services for all scenarios, were invited to share their story.

In his speech “Building Premium 5G Network to Lead in Argentina”, Miguel Angel Fernandez, CTO of Telecom Argentina, attributed the company’s success in rolling out 5G to Huawei’s MetaAAU products. “MetaAAU enables us to turn our strategic vision to market leadership. It makes it possible to set up leading networks that can diversify new 5G services to ensure business success. The wide coverage and better performance provided by MetaAAU was instrumental in the construction of premium and cost-effective networks.”

In his speech titled “2.3 GHz LNR with MM Help to Boost the Future & Reach Beyond”, Suharno, VP of Network Planning & Architecture at Telkomsel Indonesia, focused on how Massive MIMO-Verse is maximizing spectral efficiency and bringing 5G to Indonesia. “2.3 GHz LTE + NR EasyAAU has enabled us to maximize spectral efficiency when providing fiber-like FWA experiences and upgrading services. It has played a key role in both the implementation of our network-first strategy and the construction of a strong network foundation.”

The 5G industry is booming, and the 5G ecosystem is maturing rapidly. The entire industry chain has been working together to promote cost-effective, high-performance 5G and 5.5G devices to accelerate the commercial use of 5.5G. At the summit, Huawei and these distinguished participants partnered with others including Asiatelco from Shanghai, Meig, and For-X from Hangzhou to launch a new initiative “Build Premium 5G Networks, Stride to 5.5G”. This initiative aims to bring together all industry partners to accelerate the arrival of the 5.5G era.