LIVE FROM HUAWEI MOBILE BROADBAND FORUM 2016, TOKYO: Mobile operators should start building up their operational capabilities to prepare networks for the proliferation of IoT applications which will come with 5G, urged Ryan Ding, President of Products and Solutions at Huawei.

“You don’t have to wait until 2020 – you can start now to prepare for 5G, which will be a long journey,” he said.

There is good opportunity for operators to develop end-to-end capabilities for machine services using NB-IoT networks, he said. “Operators can do a lot of work to be ready, and not just with their base stations.”

Compared with 4G, he said, 5G will have two distinct characteristics: a change from being network and human focused to being business and things centric.

Ding, speaking at Huawei Global MBB Forum in Tokyo, said telcos have a few years to transform their legacy back-office systems for the coming wave of IoT services.

“5G will bring many challenges, so operations need to be transformed. It can take three to four years to transform and change their go-to-market model.

Huawei’s all cloud strategy is designed to enable end-to-end preparation for 5G, making “a commercial 5G launch possible with just one click”, he said.

Huawei is cooperating with global vendors and building alliances for vertical markets, he said. These initiatives include the NB-IoT Forum and the 5G Automotive Association.

Ding also noted that it is also very important to cultivate a local ecosystem.