Huawei expects to deliver commercial, next-generation networks capable of 10 Gbps data speeds within the next seven years.
As reported by Bloomberg, Ken Hu, the China-based vendor's deputy chairman and rotating CEO, said via email that so-called fifth-generation, or 5G, mobile technology will deliver data speeds 100 times that of the fastest LTE networks, which max out at 100 Mbps when afforded the necessary spectrum. Of course, 5G speeds will likewise be dependent upon the spectrum available.
In an interview earlier this summer with ZDNet, Zhou Yuefang, executive vice president and COO of Huawei's LTE business unit and mobile broadband technologies, said 5G will likely be introduced in 2020. He based his prediction on the facts that five years is the time frame usually required for new broadband technologies to become mainstream and gain acceptance in the mobile ecosystem, and LTE is only now beginning to gain traction.
Showing just how quickly LTE is ramping up, the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) this week announced that 11 manufacturers have announced 1,064 LTE-enabled user devices, including frequency and carrier variants. Earlier this month, the group reported that 200 LTE networks in 76 countries had commercially launched by July 31, up from the 146 commercial LTE networks that were in service at the end of 2012. An additional 54 operators launched LTE service during the first seven months of 2013, GSA said.
In related news, China may work with Taiwanese companies on 5G technology and setting up a mutual supply chain. Bloomberg and Electronics Weekly, both citing a report from the Taipei-based Commercial Times, said China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology Deputy Minister Liu Lihua has invited Taiwan's Hon Hai and MediaTek to join China's 5G development team.
Also, an article in the Taiwan News said Taiwan's government expects to begin discussions later this year regarding the development of industries relating to 5G. Premier Jiang Yi-huah said during a cabinet meeting that the island nation must develop a clear and detailed plan to promote development of 5G technologies, which will involve issues such as human resources, the assignment of a frequency spectrum and policies in several areas.
Taiwan is expected to announce its 4G license awards by year's end.
Numerous companies are hopping on the 5G bandwagon, even though standards for only now being debated and are far from being decided. Samsung Electronics said earlier this year that it had developed a new adaptive array transceiver technology will enable 5G speeds using millimeter-wave bands.
Further, 29 partners spanning telecommunications manufacturers, network operators, the automotive industry and academia are actively participating in METIS--short for Mobile and Wireless Communications Enablers for the Twenty-twenty (2020) Information Society--which is a European Union-funded 5G flagship research project. Huawei, Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU), Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC), Nokia (NYSE:NOK) and Nokia Solutions and Networks are participating vendors.
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