Huawei used its annual pre-Mobile World Congress briefing to provide an update on its focus areas, including the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in networks and – unsurprisingly – 5G.
Ryan Ding, president of the vendor’s Carrier Business Group (pictured), said the company believes there is a need to embed AI “into our services, into our networks, to provide more flexible services, and also improve our operations experience”. He talked-up the company’s new AI platform, called Atlas, which he described as “Huawei’s heterogeneous computing solution”.
AI, he said, had become a “general purpose technology” which was integrated into Huawei’s products and solutions and “greatly improved the efficiency of live networks”.
Returning to one of the main themes of Huawei’s 2017 Global Mobile Broadband Forum, the executive highlighted the role of AI in network management. In a 4G network, there are 200 parameters which need to be configured end-to-end, but when 5G comes this will increase 50 times: “so we believe we have to introduce AI into our 5G networks” to reduce configuration time.
Peter Zhou, CMO of Huawei’s wireless network product line, said Huawei “has been working for more than ten years for 5G”, and at MWC will “announce end-to-end 5G products, from core network, transmission, radio and terminal – we are getting ready to turn on 5G”.
“Today, we have started to build 5G networks in ten cities, so this year you will see a lot of commercial 5G news from those cities and even more. 5G is now: we just opened a door from enhanced mobile broadband, to a fully digitally connected society.”
Huawei has pledged to invest CNY5 billion ($790 million) in 5G research and development this year.
The vendor also identified new business models around IoT and the shift of video to become a basic service for operators as a $2.5 trillion revenue opportunity by 2025.
“This year, we will deliver around 100 NB-IoT networks, and for Huawei we will continue to invest in the narrowband IoT ecosystem,” Ding said. A forecast of 150 million connections this year was given.
In 2017, more than 100 operators around the world made video a basic service, which is expected to increase to “at least 150” in 2018: “This will become a new engine for business growth.”
“Carriers are serving more and more industries, and the requirements are becoming more and more diversified. A much broader ecosystem has already become a must. So Huawei’s goal is to build a multi-level ecosystem that integrates business solutions and infrastructure. This will enable the telecom industry to continue to grow and succeed,” he said.
“Huawei focuses on ICT infrastructure and smart devices to provide a plot of rich soil for the development of information, automation and intelligence technologies. In this soil, partners can grow their content, applications and cloud,” he observed.