Huawei predicts first 5G networks will go live in 2020

Fifth generation (5G) mobile networks will be ready for commercial deployment in 2020, offering 1,000-times the capacity of current networks and delivering peak data rates of at least 10 Gbps, Huawei has predicted.

The Chinese equipment manufacturer also said 5G networks will stimulate the rollout of virtual cloud computing platforms, and boost "Internet of Things" (IoT) connections to between 50 billion and 100 billion by 2020.

Huawei made the forecasts at a summit it organised in Munich on Monday. The event was attended by European policy makers, service providers, and technology leaders, who discussed collaborations to accelerate development of 5G technology.

"5G will have a fundamental impact on the ICT industry and on our quality of life," said Wen Tong, head of Wireless Research and head of Communications Technologies Laboratories at Huawei.

Tong talked up Huawei's 5G credentials, stating the firm began investing in the technology in 2009, and reiterating its plan to invest $600 million (€439 million) in research and development by 2018. The company states its European Research Centre is at the forefront of developing the wireless interface for 5G technology, through its membership of European research consortium METIS.

The company is also participating in Horizon 2020, a €6.2 billion research programme launched by the European Commission in December.

At the time, Neelie Kroes, vice president of the Digital Agenda, announced the EC will invest €700 million ($955 million) in 5G research, and is seeking similar commitments from industry through a series of public-private partnerships designed to position the region as a leader in the technology.

Thibaut Kleiner, head of the Network Technologies unit for the European Commission's Digital Agenda, was a keynote speaker at the Huawei summit, along with Luigi Gambardella, chairman of the European Telecommunications Networks Operators' Association (ETNO).

Despite Huawei's optimism about the commercialisation of 5G, the company notes the success of the latest technology relies heavily on global LTE or "4G" deployments.

The Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) revealed that eight new LTE networks went live between December 31 and February 5, taking total commercial deployments to 268 in 100 countries. The GSA previously predicted the figure would hit 350 networks by the end of 2014.

For more:
- see Huawei's 5G summit release
- see the GSA release
-see this separate GSA announcement

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