Huawei ploughs $600m into 5G mobile research

Huawei says it will invest at least $600 million (£400 million) in research and development for 5G technologies by 2018, building on previous investments.

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Huawei says it will invest at least $600 million (£400 million) in research and development for 5G technologies by 2018, building on previous investments. 

Huawei predicts the first 5G networks will be ready for commercial deployment starting in 2020 and will deliver peak data rates of over 10Gbps - 100 times faster than today’s 4G networks.

Eric Xu, rotating CEO of Huawei, said: “While we continue to evolve our existing 4G network capabilities, we plan to invest a minimum of US$600 million over the next five years on research and innovation for 5G mobile network technologies, to ensure that we are meeting consumers’ demands for increasingly faster and better connections." 

He added: "This investment does not include outlays to productise 5G technologies. 5G mobile networks with the peak data rates of over 10Gbps will allow people to download high-definition movies in one second and provide a true-to-life video communications experience.”

Huawei began investing in 5G in 2009. At the Mobile World Congress in 2011 and 2012, the company demonstrated 5G prototype base stations with a capacity up to 50 Gbps. 

To date, Huawei has participated in the EU’s 5G research projects, worked on the establishment of the 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) in the UK at Surrey University, and participated in joint research programmes with over 20 universities around the world. 

Huawei says it will be an active contributor in building 5G standards and ecosystems "to drive a globally consistent standard across the industry".

Xu said several obstacles had to be overcome to make 5G a reality. These include the availability of spectrum and technological challenges, such as how to engineer network architectures capable of handling increasingly higher data volumes and transmission speeds necessary to accommodate more users on the network.