At the vendor’s pre MWC24 event ‘5G Beyond Growth Summit’ operator partners shared their 5G development strategies, while Huawei heralded the start of 5G Advanced era. #PartnerContent

Partner Content

February 28, 2024

5 Min Read

At Day zero of the Mobile World Congress 2024 event Huawei hosted a summit inviting operator partners to share their strategies and differentiated value creation, alongside what they have been able to achieve to date with 5G.

The message of the event was clear. Traffic growth for 5G has been exponential, but more is needed to drive a sustainable growth and to embrace 5G Advanced (also referred to as 5.5G).

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The event was kicked off by Li Peng, Huawei's Corporate Senior Vice President and President of ICT Sales & Service presenting the breakthroughs in the traditional 5G growth pattern and how to push the boundaries of business success, from traffic, new services, experience, to unleashing 5G multi-dimensional monetization capabilities.

Li shared insights on several changes 5G has brought about so far. “5G is on the right path to business success” he said, stating that 5G has increased ARPU by 30%, likely a data point for China.

5G has also been the fastest growing mobile technology to date. With its commercialization in 2019, it has already gained 1.5 billion 5G users around the world in the past five years alone. Meanwhile, it took 4G almost double the time, nine years, to make this happen. According to Huawei 20% of global mobile subscribers are currently using 5G and generate 30% of all mobile traffic, while contributing to 40% of mobile service revenue.

The session further looked at how 5G Advanced will unlock network potentials and create new growth opportunities. Here, Li further explained, "5.5G is entering commercial use in 2024, and as 5.5G, AI, and cloud converge, carriers can unlock the potential of new applications and capabilities."

He concluded by calling all operators around the world to focus on high-quality networking, multi-dimensional monetization, emerging services, and generative AI to grasp the opportunities 5.5G can unleash. "Together with carriers, we will unlock the potential of 5G and 5.5G, and drive incredible new growth."

The following sessions at the summit included operator partner speakers from Telefonica Germany, China Mobile, du UAE, MTN Group, AIS Thailand, and Sunrise Switzerland. These operators further highlighted their work on technology and service innovation, their achievements in fixed wireless access (FWA), and their 5G development strategies, among other points.

Li Qiang, General Manager of China Mobile Planning and Construction Department talked about 5G Advanced innovations creating new values and advancing the technology’s journey. Driven by both technology and the market, more applications like 5.5G, cloud, and AI are emerging. There include technological applications as well as service applications like new calling, cloud phones, and glasses-free 3D. They keep driving commercial 5G forward.  

Huang Lilian, General Manager of 5G Co-construction and Sharing Work Team of China Telecom believed that 5G-A will create comprehensive new capabilities and experiences of new communications, new connections, new computing power, new intelligence, new security and new vision.

Another operator in China has also taken some innovative routes to create new values and advance the 5G journey. One such use-case includes China Unicom’s launch of a guaranteed uplink package to provide those livestreaming with smooth, high-definition livestreaming experiences. The package is very popular and has helped the operator increase its ARPU by more than 70%.

Next at the event was CTIO Telefonica Germany, Yelamate Mallikarjuna Rao who discussed the network of future, “The quality is future of network and the future of operations, because the way we operate our networks is significantly complex”.

Karim Benkirane, CCO at du UAE further talked up its FWA achievements. du is the challenger in a two player market and FWA has helped it gain fixed market share.

Next, we also heard about the potential of 5G for Africa from MTN Group’s CSTO Chika Ekeji. He was keen to emphasise the social value of broader access to 5G, focusing on the economic gains from B2B use-cases as well as health care and education.

Thailand’s largest network prior to merger of two of its competitors AIS also spoke at the event. DCEO Mark Chong outlined some of the differentiated offerings 5G has enabled and said they have contributed to a 50% increase in ARPU over 4G.

The operator recently released a 5G Boost Mode add-on, allowing subscribers to select different speed tiers to best meet their usage needs while helping the operator to increase its ARPU by about 23%. But Chon conceded that most of the opportunities offered by 5G so far have been in B2B.

The final operator presentation was delivered by Sunrise Switzerland who is now rolling out 5G SA. The Swiss operators expects to start with 5G Advanced next year, and Alexander Lehrmann, Senior Director Innovation and Development at Sunrise listed a few of the typical use-cases such as network slicing, low latency, and digital twins needed for a fully automated store.

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These presentations were followed by a panel discussion with several operators on stage debating what 5G has brought to the table so far and what’s yet to come.

Much of the talks revolved around novel use-cases enabled by 5G and while pondering over how one would sell 5.5G, du’s Benkirane mentioned an automated home ‘home of the future’ showcase and the evolution of FWA to include better bandwidth.

Looking ahead to the rest of the year, the operators shared their ambitious goals for 2024. These included higher smartphone penetration for MTN, 5G Advance B2B offerings for du, sunsetting legacy technology from Telefonica, and the development of the AI phone from China Unicom.

The event culminated in a commemoration ceremony celebrating the commercialisation of 5.5G.

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