LIVE FROM HUAWEI’S GLOBAL MOBILE BROADBAND FORUM 2017, LONDON: Ryan Ding, president of the Carrier Business Group at Huawei (pictured), urged operators to “act now” in building capabilities to support future 5G services.

In a keynote presentation, the executive cited the old adage: “Never leave until tomorrow that which you can do today.”

“Our industry cannot just sit and wait for 5G. We must act now, incubating new services and building new capabilities in 4.5G networks. I believe that WTTX [fixed-wireless access] and NB-IoT will be a good start,” he said.

“These two services will not only create some new revenue, new services, but they will prepare operators to build 5G capabilities in operations, in organisation, and most importantly, in ecosystem,” Ding continued.

“WTTX has become a mainstream way of providing home broadband” alongside fibre, copper and cable.

“The commercial use of WTTX is accelerating globally – by the end of this year there will be over 200 WTTX networks, serving 50 million homes,” he said.

“WTTX is different from the traditional mobile broadband business. There is high data consumption, fixed location and much, much higher concurrency – especially in the night. So we need to build up new capabilities to match this difference,” the executive continued.

Two approaches
In terms of IoT, the executive said while there are “many, many” different scenarios, “I think we can put all of the scenarios into two categories: narrowband IoT, and broadband IoT. We believe carriers should start their IoT journey from NB-IoT”.

While NB-IoT offers some characteristics which make it attractive in its own right – such as the ability to generate new revenue and the low-churn nature of the services – this is not the critical factor for operators: “The most important reason is because these solutions will be integrate [sic] carriers’ network capabilities into customers’ production systems,” Ding said.

“The huge potential of 5G is emerging, the entire industry needs to act now to build new capabilities [to] realise the 5G vision. We still have a long way to go,” he concluded.