During MWC Shanghai, Huawei made a bold claim that it would provide all the necessary components for running a 5.5G network by next year. However, no-one can define what 5.5G even is.
Yang Chaobin, the director and president of ICT Products & Solutions at Huawei, announced the company’s ambitious plans, stating that the launch would signify the beginning of the 5.5G era for the industry.
However, the term “5.5G” is currently not recognised by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), the organisation responsible for defining 5G and related standards.
The 3GPP is currently focused on evolving 5G through its work on Release 18, known as “5G-Advanced,” which includes significant enhancements like 10Gbps connections and the utilisation of mmWave frequencies.
Huawei’s use of the term 5.5G seems to be an attempt to position Release 18 as the next iteration of 5G. Despite the lack of formal recognition, Huawei is confident in its ability to deliver advanced technologies, including AI-native capabilities, to enhance network performance and availability.
“With a clearly defined standardisation schedule, the 5.5G Era is already poised for technological and commercial verification,” said Yang.
“In 2024, Huawei will launch a complete set of commercial 5.5G network equipment to be prepared for the commercial deployment of 5.5G.”
Yang claims that Huawei’s approach will enable the deployment of AI capabilities throughout the network.
Huawei’s involvement in 5G infrastructure has raised concerns among many governments due to security risks associated with the company. Several countries have even banned or restricted the use of Huawei’s 5G and 4G equipment. Consequently, it is unlikely that a significant number of global buyers will consider Huawei’s 5.5G offerings.
However, Huawei’s announcement could still garner positive attention domestically. Developing nations may also be attracted by Huawei’s competitively-priced communication equipment.
While Huawei’s claim to offer comprehensive solutions for a 5.5G network is ambitious, the term itself lacks formal recognition from standardisation bodies. The company’s emphasis on AI capabilities and network enhancements may resonate with certain markets, but the geopolitical challenges it faces could limit its global reach.
(Image Credit: Huawei)
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