The Promise Of 5G In The Middle East
Huawei has maintained its lead in global 5G deployments with a 31 per cent market share as of 2020, according to research firm Dell’Oro Group.
By DAVID NDICHU
As of the end of last year, Huawei had deployed more than 140 commercial 5G networks in 59 countries and regions with the number of 5G subscribers on its infrastructure exceeding 220 million worldwide.
The Middle East has emerged as a global 5G trailblazer. In just 19 months, the number of 5G users has exceeded two million, a milestone that took the previous 4G technology twice as long.
Huawei remains the 5G solutions provider of choice for many Middle East telecom carriers and enterprises. It is a position earned as a result of investing early and heavily in technology R&D.
The company began 5G research as early as 2009 and has invested $4bn in 5G so far. Moreover, Huawei’s R&D investment over the past decade has exceeded $110bn.
“The Middle East has been an exciting region for us given the enormous scale of developments that are underway that can be empowered by technology. This is epitomised by the rapid development of 5G that has exceeded many expectations. The region today is more connected than at any point in history,” said Charles Yang the president of Huawei Middle East.
Speaking on the sidelines of the SAMENA Leaders’ Summit in Dubai, Yang noted that digitisation has accelerated substantially over the last year, with global network traffic increasing by around 50 per cent during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The ICT industry thus has an important responsibility to create new social and business value for governments, organisations, and individuals – we are fully committed to this value creation,” Yang said. “We already bring the power of technologies like 5G to key [regional] events such as the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia and are now aligning with governments to support mega-events like Expo 2020 in the UAE and the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.”
A strong local talent ecosystem is required to serve these ambitious goals. Yang highlights Huawei’s “LearnOn” online learning platform launched last year in the Middle East. More than 35,000 people have used the platform for training to date.
“Huawei will continue investing in programs such as its Seeds for the Future initiative and ICT Competition, as well as in Huawei ICT Academies and laboratory funding to develop 70,000 ICT talents and build 100 Joint Innovation Centres for the Middle East by 2025,” Yang said.
Huawei believes that cybersecurity is a shared responsibility. The company has thus been working together with governments, security experts, and enterprises across the Middle East to help evolve cybersecurity assurance and privacy protection systems.
“Cybersecurity is not an issue for any single company or country alone,” Yang said. “Huawei has not had any major cybersecurity incidents while working with more than 500 telecom providers, including most of the top 50 telecom operators worldwide. To ensure transparency and collaboration, Huawei is always ready to sign cybersecurity cooperation agreements with governments and customers in the Middle East.”
Despite a challenging global environment, Huawei continued to boost its operations. That led to achieving revenue and profit growth during 2020 overall. Part of that came down to a focus on R&D and joint innovation programs in areas like 5G, AI and cloud, with Huawei establishing 13 Open Labs around the world to support open collaboration, said Yang.
Last year, Huawei’s carrier business group ensured the stable operations of more than 1,500 networks across 170 countries and regions throughout the Covid-19 lockdowns.
In March, Huawei released its 2020 Annual Report with sales revenue rounded off at approximately $136.7bn, up 3.8 per cent year-on-year, while its net profit reached $9.9bn, up 3.2 per cent year-on-year. To date, more than 700 cities and 253 Fortune Global 500 companies have chosen Huawei as their partner for digital transformation.
Originally published at Gulf business