Huawei expects to double European R&D over next 5 years

Huawei said it doubled its investment into research and development in Europe between 2010 and 2013, and the company said it expects that number to double again over the next five years.

The commitment from Huawei is notable. The company is the world's No. 1 maker of mobile infrastructure RAN equipment, according to  ABI Research, commanding a 31.1 per cent share of the market in the second quarter. And also according to ABI, Huawei is the world's sixth-largest maker of mobile phones in the second quarter, with 3.1 per cent of the market. That Huawei plans to continue to invest in R&D in Europe indicates the vendor hopes to solidify its position in both Europe and the broader global market.

"Huawei is committed to reinvesting a minimum of 10 per cent of revenue in research and development every year," Renato Lombardi, vice president of Huawei's European Research Centre, said in a statement. "In 2012, we re-invested over 13 per cent of our global revenue in R&D, one of the largest single commitments to R&D in the ICT industry by a private company. Our investment in R&D in Europe also continues to grow."

Huawei counts a total of 13 R&D locations across Europe, in Sweden, Finland, the UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Ireland and Italy. The company said it currently employs more than 800 R&D specialists across these 13 European sites.

Interestingly, Jim Lu, president of Huawei CEE & Nordic Region, laid out the company's' R&D plans. He said the vendor plans to invest in technologies to help operators and businesses "manage the rising volumes of data that are now flooding their networks." He also said Huawei will focus on reducing the energy consumption of the components that make up those networks as well as ensuring its customers can manage wired and wireless traffic via software.

Indeed, Huawei's recent activities indicate its investments are paying off. Russian operator Scartel is now technically ready to deploy Voice over LTE (VoLTE) services on its LTE network following trials with Huawei, the Chinese vendor said in a statement. And Huawei expects to deliver commercial, next-generation networks capable of 10 Gbps data speeds within the next seven years.

But Huawei has suffered its fair share of setbacks. The company has been essentially shut out of the U.S. infrastructure market over concerns the Chinese government would use Huawei equipment to spy on Americans. Huawei has denied those allegations.

Meanwhile, last month the European Commission swatted away a report that suggested it is delaying an investigation into the business practices of Huawei and fellow Chinese vendor ZTE until after European vendors have secured satisfactory slices of a massive TD-LTE tender launched by China Mobile. The Commission told FierceWireless:Europe in an emailed statement that Commissioner De Gucht "has repeated his position," and reiterated its statement from May that "the European Commission is ready to launch an anti-dumping and an anti-subsidy investigation concerning imports of mobile telecoms networks from China, but seeks a negotiated solution in this case."

Late last month reports indicated that China Mobile awarded initial contracts to equipment vendors worth around 20 billion yuan ($3.27 billion or €2.45 billion) for its TD-LTE network, with Huawei and ZTE securing around 50 per cent of the deal and three major European manufacturers sharing around 30 per cent. Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN) each reportedly gained around 10 per cent of the contract, although the negotiations are not final. The two Chinese vendors are reported to have been awarded around 25-26 per cent each. The final results are expected to be revealed sometime this month.

For more:
- see this Huawei release

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