At MWC Barcelona 2023, global telecom gear leader, Huawei, emphasized the need to develop an ICT infrastructure that is simple, energy-efficient, and intelligent to accelerate the digital transformation of the telcos and to foster innovation so they are able to maximize the gains from the market opportunities.

Digital transformation has now accelerated for all industry verticals. Industrial-grade applications, such as smart manufacturing and power grid dispatching, are driving a rapid increase in the demand for processing power and storage while also raising a variety of requirements for connectivity and quality.

Li Peng, President of Huawei’s Carrier BG, outlined how 5G was opening the door to an intelligent world and how the transition to 5.5G would be a significant turning point in this journey during his address at MWC’s Day 0 Forum. He also discussed the industry’s need to work together to accelerate the advance towards an ultra-broadband, environmentally friendly, and intelligent world to meet the escalating new digital demands from users and sectors.

“5G has driven the rapid development of the ICT industry. By the end of 2022, more than 230 5G networks had already been commercially deployed, supporting over one billion 5G users and a multitude of 5G devices. In the consumer market, carriers have been innovating to extend “Connectivity+”. As 5G capabilities continue to improve, leading carriers in Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Europe have scrambled to develop different kinds of digital services,” says Li Peng.

“Some carriers have converged connectivity with local OTT services, which allows them to achieve shared success. These offerings bundle connectivity with digital services like social media, helping them grow into a one-stop digital service provider,” he added.

Li highlights that general-purpose technologies like 5G, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and cloud computing are driving industrial digitalization and bringing new strategic opportunities. Li explained that as enterprise customers need more offering portfolios, carriers need to reinforce “Connectivity+”.

Developing a 5.5G ecosystem

Huawei, a prominent telecom gear maker, emphasized the importance of collaborating with ecosystem partners and industry stakeholders to explore the vast potential of ultra-broadband 5.5G, the next evolutionary step after 5G. As the demand for ultra-high-speed connectivity and extremely low latency will continue to increase, 5G will not be enough to address the needs of the service providers and 6G is still some time away. In this scenario, 5.5G will help the service providers meet evolving market needs.

Huawei believes 5.5G will be a significant step toward building the next phase of the intelligent world. Modern, high-potential apps like Metaverse, immersive workspaces and real-time interactions will need the foundation of 5.5G.

According to Li, moving forward, the intelligent world will be deeply integrated with the physical world. Everything, including personal entertainment, work, and industrial production, will be intelligently connected. This implies that networks will have to evolve from ubiquitous gigabit to ubiquitous 10 gigabit, and connectivity and sensing will need to be integrated. To put it simply, the ICT industry will have to shift its focus from energy consumption to energy efficiency.

Li Peng of Huawei stated that to meet these expanding demands, the transition from 5G to 5.5G will be crucial. Huawei is prepared to collaborate with its industry partners to deliver a ubiquitous 10-gigabit experience using cutting-edge wireless, optical, and IP technologies; to investigate use cases like vehicle-road collaboration and environment monitoring to integrate connectivity and sensing; and to develop a unified energy efficiency indicator system to support the growth of the green industry.

It should be noted that NCIe, an indicator to gauge the intensity of network carbon emissions, was formally published as a standard by the ITU-T last year. The verification of novel multi-dimensional energy efficiency metrics on live networks has led to an increase in energy efficiency of 20% to 50% for several service providers in China and Europe.

GUIDE blueprint for success

At the conclusion of his speech, Li urged the entire telecom industry to implement the GUIDE business model to speed up the adoption of 5G and advance the world’s transition to an ultra-broadband, eco-friendly, and intelligent one.

Huawei’s GUIDE presents a blueprint to the industry. It brings forth five key capabilities that the service providers will need to achieve as they move to the next phase of growth to become digital network providers. The key capabilities, including expanding service offerings and service scope, holistic efficiency innovation, leveraging all available resources no matter network or computing resources in a synergized fashion, competing on value offering with end user experience as a target, and contributing to society in all dimensions – greener future, sustainability and governance, are what the service providers need to develop.