Wednesday, October 25, 2023


Marking the evolution of 5G: Unleashing the power of 5.5G at Huawei’s Global Mobile Broadband Forum

In collaboration with du, Huawei showcases the world's first 5.5G Villa, powered by a remarkable 10Gbps network.

By Tariq Al Barwani

Monday, October 16, 2023

The annual Global Mobile Broadband Forum (MBBF), hosted by Huawei, is asignificant event in the telecommunications industry, bringing together leaders and innovators from around the world to discuss the latest developments in mobile communications. The 14th MBBF, held in Dubai in October 2023, was no exception. In collaboration with GSMA, GTI, and the SAMENA Telecommunications Council, the forum showcased the rapid progression of 5G technology and its transformative impact on industries and smart homes.

Over the past four years, 5G deployment has seen rapid progress. By June 2023, more than 260 commercial 5G networks were deployed worldwide, with over 1.2 billion 5G users and more than 50,000 5G industry applications. The forum focused on how mobile broadband technology is shaping the future and continually transforming people’s lives and industries.

The event began with a livestreamed discussion between Huawei’s Rotating Chairman Ken Hu and the Director General of GSMA, Mats Granryd, about the current state of 5G development and future projections. Their insights were a testament to how far 5G has come since its inception.

“Technology is changing so fast, and new demands are evolving every day,” Hu stated. “So our networks need to keep evolving too. Our industry as a whole needs to get ready for the future and maximize the value of investments in 5G – and that’s why we’re working so hard on 5G-Advanced.”

Granryd further emphasized the significant impact of 5G on digital transformation across industries. In 2030, 5G is expected to add a whopping US$1 trillion to the global economy, with benefits spreading across all sectors.

The growth of 5G has been truly remarkable. The speed of network deployment, adoption, consumer services, and industry applications has exceeded expectations. To put this into perspective, over 260 5G networks have been deployed globally, covering nearly half of the world’s population. In comparison, 4G took six years to reach the same milestone.

Ken Hu shared Huawei’s insights on the transformative role of 5G in the consumer market. For leading mobile operators worldwide, 5G now accounts for the majority of network traffic. Video-based applications are driving this growth, with a three- to five-fold increase in network traffic and a 10%–25% average increase in Average Revenue Per User (ARPU).

Beyond the consumer market, 5G has facilitated the expansion of mobile communication networks into various industries. This is a significant departure from the experience with 4G. Currently, there are more than 50,000 industrial 5G applications worldwide, with over 10 million 5G connections in industrial settings.

Over the past four years, key scenarios for industrial applications have been identified, such as remote control, video backhaul, machine vision, and positioning, where 5G can maximize its value. Industries like mining, ports, and manufacturing stand to benefit immensely from the scaling up of 5G capabilities.

One of the most anticipated discussions revolved around 5G-Advanced (5G-A), the next evolutionary step in 5G technology. Ken Hu noted the importance of industry-wide collaboration to promote the development of device and application ecosystems, verify use case scenarios, and accelerate the large-scale commercialization of Fixed Wireless Access Square (FWA Square), Passive IoT, and RedCap.

These efforts are vital to harnessing the potential of five new trends that will shape an intelligent digital future. For instance, the glasses-free 3D industry ecosystem is advancing rapidly. Breakthroughs in technologies like cloud rendering and real-time 3D virtual humans will take immersive experiences to new heights. In the future, an increasing number of devices, including mobile phones and TVs, will support glasses-free 3D, driving data traffic up tenfold compared to 2D video.

As new developments in AI, such as foundation models, continue to rise, the demand for AI computing power is expected to grow explosively. By 2025, this demand is projected to be 100 times greater than current levels. To unlock the full potential of AI computing power, advanced network capabilities are essential. Networks will need larger bandwidth and lower latency to enable truly intelligent connectivity.

The unveiling of the 5.5G Villa at the 2023 Global Mobile Broadband Forum was a significant milestone. In collaboration with du, Huawei showcased the world’s first 5.5G demonstration Villa, powered by a remarkable 10Gbps network. This innovative project was a result of an MOU signed between the two entities, focusing on 5.5G technological innovation, application exploration, and ecosystem development.

The 5.5G Villa is a testament to the seamless integration of cutting-edge technologies, offering an unparalleled smart home experience enriched with applications like naked-eye 3D and XR. As consumers increasingly crave superior experiences, this inspires the evolution of content and applications, subsequently amplifying the demand on network capabilities.

This revolutionary smart home of the future illustrates the boundless potential that deterministic experience technology heralds for households. It harnesses Huawei’s innovative FWA² solution, showcasing how, in the 5G era, FWA became an operator’s powerhouse tool for rapid user expansion. As we transition to 5G-A/5.5G, the FWA² solution, encompassing FWA Pro, FWA Lite, and FWA Biz, promises unparalleled services for discerning customers. Specifically, FWA Pro is engineered to support a phenomenal rate of 10Gbps, thus reimagining smart home living and unlocking vast business opportunities.

The 2023 Global Mobile Broadband Forum marked a pivotal moment in the journey of 5G and the dawn of 5.5G. The industry is now poised to embrace a future where the boundaries of connectivity are pushed further than ever before. As technology continues to evolve at a breathtaking pace, the impact of 5G and its advanced iterations will be felt across all aspects of our lives, from the way we communicate and work to how we experience entertainment and interact with the world around us. With the 5.5G Villa as a shining example, we can look forward to a world where smart homes are just the beginning of what’s possible in the age of intelligent connectivity.