Huawei Focuses on 5G and COVID-19, Dodges Unpleasant Topics

Huawei Focuses on 5G and COVID-19, Dodges Unpleasant Topics

At the Huawei Better World Summit, rotating chairman of the Chinese company Guo Ping delivered an overview of how ICT is being used to fight the spread of COVID-19 and support recovery. He has also highlighted the role of 5G networks in the battle, while avoiding mentioning of the company’s troubles worldwide.

In a keynote, Guo said the pandemic is reshaping how we live and work and dealt a heavy blow to the global economy: “Fortunately, ICT can help us fight back against the virus on multiple fronts. And the use of 5G can boost the digital transformation across all sectors of society.” Breaking from the past, Guo didn’t take questions from the media after his presentation, which was not surprising given the recent ban on its 5G gear in the UK and a widening row with banking group HSBC.

Guo said 81 operators had launched commercial 5G services as of June, with more than 700,000 base stations already deployed and the vendor expecting 1.5 million by the year-end. He believes 3GPP’s approval of Release 16 specifications in early July will jump-start the development of industrial applications, as the business case for 5G goes beyond just connectivity. “When technologies like 5G, computing, cloud and AI come together, they reinforce each other to create greater value.”

The chairman gave the example of how live 4K video streams powered by 5G enables engineers to reduce inspection times, cutting labour costs by as much as 78 percent. Guo said 5G also lays the foundation for digital cities. In Shanghai, China’s three mobile operators deployed more than 7,400 5G base stations, which link with the city’s general urban planning to support a wide range of applications, including integrated environmental monitoring and autonomous driving for delivery vehicles, buses and taxis.

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