Huawei’s deputy chairman said that spectrum release was a key challenge for operators as they look to ramp up their initial 5G offerings

European governments and regulators must ensure that they provide operators with cost effective, contiguous spectrum, to ease the financial burden of 5G, according to Huawei’s deputy chairman, Ken Hu.

During his welcome address at the Global Mobile Broadband Forum in Zurich on Tuesday, Hu said that governments needed to view 5G as a strategic investment, creating favourable conditions for operators to rollout next generation mobile network services at scale.  

“I hope governments can help to provide contiguous spectrum. Operators need it. Each operator needs access to 100MHz blocks of contiguous spectrum in order to maximise their 5G rollouts.

“5G is critical national infrastructure so spectrum resources must not be too expensive. We need to be flexible. For example, in China the government allowed operators to pay in instalments, helping to spread the cost of 5G and reducing the intensity of that initial capital investment,” he said.

Hu also echoed the sentiments of the GSMA, by saying that national governments must resist the urge to push up spectrum prices in an attempt to maximise short term revenues.

“We actually see some governments reducing the cost of spectrum for operators. Saudi Arabia recently cut the cost of its 5G spectrum at auction by 25 per cent,” Hu added.

Hu stated that there are currently 40 active 5G mobile networks around the world, with that number projected to grow to 60 by the end of 2019. Hu said that the global telecoms industry needed to change its mindset, as it looks to ramp up its 5G offering over the next 12 months. “We need a shift of mindset, not just from operators and vendors but also from governments and regulators,” he said.  

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