Global tech giant Huawei remains committed and determined to work with Europe to develop its 5G network, as the new technology has gradually begun its commercial deployment this year. This was emphasised and one of the key messages by its deputy chairman and rotating CEO Ken Hu during the annual Mobile World Congress in Shanghai this week.
With global 5G standards, networks, consumer devices, and applications all ready, 5G commercialization is now beginning to accelerate, and earlier this year, Switzerland became the first country in Europe to offer its customers concrete and comprehensive 5G solutions following a partnership between Swiss telecom operator Sunrise and Huawei.
As the battle for the lucrative business continues, Huawei remains the global market leader with 50 secured 5G contracts so far around the world, compared to 42 by second player Nokia. Out of these 50 contracts, 28 are in Europe, 11 in Middle East, 6 in Asia Pacific, 4 in the Americas and one in Africa, Hu said when addressing the press at the conference. The company has also already deployed 150,000 5G base stations, and expects this number to reach 500,000 by the end of the year.
Despite its advantageous market position however, the company faces difficult challenges and it suffered a big blow last month when the Trump administration added Huawei to a blacklist which prevents US companies from supplying it without first obtaining a US government license.
Addressing concerns over this, Ken Hu expressed disappointment at this decision, which he believed is “unfair and unjustified” as it is not based on any concrete evidence of malpractice, and emphasised that the company has “taken actions over the past months to ensure that its business is not affected”, and that they have “already found alternative supply solutions, including self-developed solutions or sourcing from non-American partners” for components affected by the US blacklist.
In April, the Belgian Centre for Cybersecurity (CCB), announced that it had not found any evidence of cyber security threats, following a months-long investigation, and will consequently not issue a negative opinion on the company. And as China’s President Xi Jinping is set to meet President Trump at the G20 summit in Osaka end of this week, there are now speculations that the Huawei may be lifted as part of a trade deal.
However, politics aside, Huawei remains confident that it can maintain its market leadership, thanks to its competitive advantage and superior product offering relative to the competition. It has invested around $4 billion over the last decade in R&D to develop the next generation of wireless technology which will allow for substantial developments and leaps in new applications within the digital economy, such as autonomous cars, AI, and a wide range of other industries.
Ken Hu said that it has built up a portfolio of over 2,570 patents, making up 20 per cent of all 5G patents, which is greater than any other company, and was one of the first companies in the world to begin development on 5G technology already 10 years ago, just as 4G started being rolled out. Its 5G solutions also keep performing substantially better than any of its competitors in tests.
“Huawei played a major successful role in the deployment of 4G networks across Europe, and it remains hopeful and confident that it will continue to be a key partner for Europe with 5G”, Hu added.