This year, the 14th annual Global Mobile Broadband Forum (MBBF) held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, began with a Keynote speech from Li Peng, Huawei’s Corporate Senior Vice President and President of Carrier BG to discuss how to drive greater 5G success 

Reflecting back on previous momentous innovations throughout history, such as how the agricultural economy – enabled by the invention of the water wheels– allowed for the large-scale irrigation, Li noted that as we have entered the digital age, the internet has become the powerhouse behind our successful digital economy.   

Therefore, we know that 5G is a critical part of this new economic transformation that we are now seeing, as it allowed for the fast opening of new markets and opportunities.   

The growth of 4G took eight years to reach one billion users. But with the increased growth rate of 5G, this same milestone took only four years, which is allowing for the digital transformation of traditional industries in areas such as mining, or oil and gas, in over 18,000 5G enabled digitalisation projects – a number which is ever-growing.  

After sharing how 5G has shaped the economy that we see today, Li then went on to share five key trends that are changing the development of the digital economy, that are set to shape our future:  

  1. The glasses-free 3D industry ecosystem 

This industry is fast advancing as an increasing number of phones, tablets and PCs now support it, which is set to drive up data traffic tenfold. As a result, new technologies such as real time virtual humans will allow immersive experiences to be taken to new levels.  

  1. Self-guided vehicles 

Just last year alone, sales of smart vehicles exceeded 70 million. It is estimated that by 2025 there will be more than 500 million smart vehicles on our roads. The availability of high-bandwidth, low latency networks will allow these smart vehicles to share information in real time to people, vehicles and the cloud. In these scenarios, 5G-Advanced networks will be vital.  

  1. Next-gen manufacturing 

The digital transformation of the manufacturing industry, including breakthroughs in capabilities like network slicing and edge computing, the number of 5G private networks for enterprise use has increased by over one hundred times. Thus, the market has grown to be worth over $10 billion.  

As production lines become increasingly more dependent on wireless networks, and a higher number of core production systems are deployed on the cloud, there will be more pressure out on our 5G networks.  

In an effort to combat this, Huawei worked with a carrier and industry partners in China to build the industry’s first 5G-Advanced flexible trial production line. Here, 5G-Advanced supports high-concurrency and highly deterministic network connections, which helps to more efficiently connect computing power between cloud and network edge. The success of the trial allowed for the opening of a $100 billion market for 5G-enabled industrial controls.  

  1. Generalised Cellular Internet of Things (IoT) 

With more than three billion IoT connections globally, 5G now connected more things than people. Soon, 5G will support wider array of IoT technologies, like medium speed RedCap (reduced capacity) and Passive IoT. As a result, there will be a quicker and more efficient flow of data, information and computing power. Li gave the example of the home appliance manufacturing sector, where passive IoT can help to ensure visibility along the entire production chain, which, in trials, has increased overall productivity by 30%.  

  1. Guaranteed Intelligent Computing Everywhere 

New developments in AI will cause the demand for AI computing to double every 3-4 months. Just by 2025, this will be over 100 times greater. To support this growth, to release the full potential of AI computing, larger bandwidth and lower latency networks are paramount.  

In order to make the most of these five trends, Li shared six key features that mobile networks must have going forward:  

  1. 10 Gbps downlink  
  2. 1 Gbps uplink 
  3. deterministic networking  
  4. support for a hundred-billion IoT connections 
  5. Integrated sensing and communication 
  6. Native AI capabilities  

Li urged that to make this happen, carriers and industry players must continuously upgrade their capabilities in three essential usage scenarios – enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), massive machine-type communications (mMTC), and ultra-reliable low-latency communication (URLLC). Additionally, three new capabilities, must be developed including Uplink Centric Broadband Communication (UCBC) and Real-Time Broadband Communication (RTBC).  

Bringing the day one keynote speech to a close, Li concluded that 5G-Advanced is the natural next-step in the global 5G evolution, which Huawei is working with carriers worldwide to verify these technologies. 

In terms of products, technology, and scenario-based applications, Huawei is ready for the mass commercial deployment of 5G-Advanced networks.  

“Let’s start today, and build tomorrow’s networks for future service. Unleash 5G’s infinite potential for continuous success”, concluded Li.