1. 2018 was a big year for Huawei. Could you talk us through some of your highlights of the year?
2018 was a solid year for the business. In particular, we saw strong growth across Western Europe and the UK. The successful launches of consumer devices such as the flagship Huawei P20 and Mate 20 series smartphones have really begun to showcase Huawei’s ability to manufacture high quality, innovative products.
On the carrier side, we have also seen strong demand globally from networks keen to use Huawei equipment in their 5G infrastructure. To date, Huawei has signed 5G cooperation agreements with over 50 operators worldwide, including 26 commercial deployment contracts. This is a reflection of our customers' strong recognition of our leading 5G end-to-end capabilities alongside innovative products and solutions.
2. What’s next for Huawei? What can we expect to see from you in 2019?
Huawei will always look to produce products that are both innovative and groundbreaking, it’s in our DNA.
At this time we can't delve into our future product roadmap. However, I can tell you that we pride ourselves on delivering the best in market leading products and services, a vision that extends well into 2019 and beyond.
3. 5G is looming. How do you see 5G transforming the way we use our devices?
As the next generation of wireless technology begins to be fully rolled out, 5G will form the foundations of all digital communication and will be a flexible toolbox for the digitalisation of society.
Over the past decade, we've seen telecoms companies usher in a new connected era where videos and pictures changed the way we used our devices to communicate.
We have also seen the birth of new technologies such as AR/VR/MR which has paved the way for a deeper selection of rich multimedia offerings. Other offerings such as 4k video, naked eye 3D video and VR Panoramic will also further enhance the consumer experience with their devices.
In the future, we will also begin to see 5G devices take on various new forms not yet seen, such as folding mobile phones and diversified wearable devices.
5G will have an input across many industries, benefitting all areas of the economy.
4. What will 5G mean for businesses? Can you explain how 5G will bring benefits? Will it really bring about a futuristic world of smart cities, driverless cars and the internet of things?
We are already beginning to see a number of commercial cases today where 5G is being utilised to boost efficiency and production in the workplace. 5G will have a transformative impact across everything from gaming and health services to sport and manufacturing.
Norway is one country that is already utilising 5G technology to boost efficiency. Norwegian fishing companies are using 5G in order to detect and single out, at an early stage, fish infected with lice.
Even the sporting world is beginning to embrace 5G technology In November last year we saw Wembley Stadium host its first live 5G broadcast.
5. What will it mean for phone networks?
With a solid 5G infrastructure in place, networks will be in a position to provide their customer base with much faster data download and upload speeds alongside wider coverage and more stable connections.
5G will also offer an array of investment opportunities as new technologies are developed. Which will no doubt shape the way we choose to communicate with each other and create and consume content.
6. Most importantly, what could it mean for consumers? How will it change the way we use our devices?
5G will present many benefits to consumers. For instance, with access to super-fast connection speeds, users will be able to download large files, like a Blu Ray quality movie for example, in just a matter of seconds.
In addition, the ability to capture those great moments in life is of critical importance to consumers. And 5G-compatible handsets will feature a number of next-generation tools to ensure users are able continue to explore their creativity in new and interesting ways. This includes the ability to film Naked Eye 3D and being able to capture video in 4K and 3D Panoramic quality, to name just a few.
We are excited about what the future of innovations for 5G applications, everything will be connected, serving and intelligent.
7. When will 5G-compatible handsets hit the shelves? Does Huawei have a 5G handset in the works?
Huawei has already confirmed that it will be launching a 5G-supported Kirin chipset in 2019, ensuring our devices going forward have full 5G capabilities.
It is very much our ambition to bring the ultimate premium experience in 5G to all consumers as soon as possible, and this is what we are working to.
8. Can you explain the rollout timeline? From standard agreement and setting, through to commercialisation, and then adoption for business and industry? How long will it be before we’re all connected on 5G?
Huawei began its research into 5G technology back in 2009. In 2018 we unveiled a full range of end-to-end (E2E) 3GPP-compliant 5G product solutions. To help global carriers roll out 5G networks, Huawei launched E2E NSA 5G commercial systems in September 2018, and will launch E2E SA 5G commercial systems in March this year.
Almost all network customers have indicated that they want to work with Huawei. We have the best equipment and for a faster, cost effective upgrade to 5G we will continue to lead in the market for at least the next 12 to 18 months.
9. Mobile operators face challenges particularly in Western Europe. How much is it likely to cost mobile networks? What are you hearing about funding 5G?
Capital expenditure costs for mainstream operators around the world have remained fairly stable over the past decade or so.
5G infrastructure will bring about a diverse range of new business opportunities along with a number of cost reduction capabilities. This will ensure increased confidence with operators around their investments in the technology.
Huawei will work with operators to further reduce network operational expenditure (OPEX) through 5G minimal network capabilities, thereby optimising investment efficiency and further aiding commercial success.