Huawei says 5G might be available as soon as 2018


Huawei announced today that it has signed an agreement with Russian mobile operator MegaFon to develop and deploy 5G trial networks in time for the 2018 World Cup.

The deal between the Chinese telecom company and the Russian mobile service focuses on standardizing 5G technology, determining the requirements to build a 5G network and creating a team to conduct trials and provide coverage at the 2018 tournament in Russia.

Pilot projects should be completed by the end of June 2017. Ryan Ding, president of Huawei products and solutions, said, “With the help of MegaFon, we are confident of turning science-fiction-like service into 5G reality for citizens in Russia and soccer fans around the world, two years ahead of the industry’s estimated 5G introduction date of 2020.”

This is another indicator of how serious Huawei is about 5G, after having pledged £5m to a 5G research center in the UK, where 5G is expected around 2022. Plus, a recent report predicts that by 2020, 90% of the world’s population above six years of age will have a mobile device, and it’s understandable that Huawei wants to be front and center deploying the necessary technology to make those numbers a reality.

It’s worth bearing in mind that 5G has not yet been officially standardized but that may happen in time for Huawei’s World Cup rollout schedule.Japan and South Korea expect 5G to go live locally by 2020. They’ve always been at the forefront of mobile data technology, so it’ll be exciting to see if Huawei can beat the likes of NTT DoCoMo to the punch.

Update: BGR India reports that Huawei has also partnered on Thursday (20 November) with Singaporean mobile carrier SingTel to launch a 5G Joint Innovation Programme. Exact timelines aren’t mentioned, but Huawei’s plans in Singapore might be similar to those they have for Russia, to launch operational trials by 2018.

Image credit: Huawei

➤ Huawei and Russia’s MegaFon plan 5G launch at 2018 World Cup [Mobile World Live]

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