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The Battle for 5G
September 21, 2020 News


As nations around the world anticipate the launch of 5G, Huawei has been making the right headlines in Asia over the last couple of months. With a host of 5G-ready innovation coming from the tech giant, countries like Malaysia continue to be optimistic that the use of Huawei components for 5G connectivity may not be as concerning as feared by some others.

Malaysia’s 5G journey has been an interesting one. Albeit the little crisis of licensing issues some months back, most of the telco companies are pretty much geared up and ready to deploy 5G to their users. Both consumers and businesses themselves are eagerly awaiting the release of the technology which many predict may only happen in 2021.

While the delay is expected, due to licensing and regulatory issues, Huawei has pretty much put in place most of the 5G infrastructure for telco companies. And this is where it gets interesting.

VMware recently unveiled its 5G Telco Cloud platform that is expected to empower communication service providers with the ability to support the technology that comes with 5G. According to Shekar Ayyar, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Telco and Edge Cloud, VMware, VMware is providing the foundation for CSPs to work.

When asked if VMware’s new platform is capable of supporting Huawei’s infrastructure, Shekar said that while VMware understands the situation at hand, it’s also a rather interesting one. VMware will surely provide the solutions needed by telcos no matter if they’re using Huawei’s 5G infrastructure or any other. However, what’s interesting is the outcome of this.

Countries that have invested in Huawei’s 5G infrastructure have already seen faster developments compared to others. According to the European Roundtable for Industry report,  Europe’s deployment of 5G cellular communications networks is alarmingly slow and is far behind other regions.

In fact, the report stated, “Europe fares equally poorly in upgrading 4G base stations to 5G as well, with just 1% having been enhanced this way, compared with 98% in South Korea. This is also due to legacy issues from the delayed roll-out of 4G in the many EU Member States. The share of subscriptions using 4G networks in the US, China and elsewhere are significantly higher – another factor which puts 5G roll-out in Europe at a significant disadvantage to other world regions”.

Meanwhile, Australia could have also been the most advanced 5G operators had they not banned Huawei. As such, there are also several countries that are still deciding on whether they should use Huawei or any other vendor, which in turn is only slowing the implementation and deployment of the technology.

In the US, it’s a different approach as telco companies Verizon and T-Mobile battle each other for 5G dominance. DISH recently announced that they have tested and onboarded dozens of cloud-native 5G networks from multiple software vendors on top of VMware’s Telco Cloud.

As it goes, it’s no longer about which 5G network or infrastructure provider that gets chosen. It’s about who comes out the fastest and is able to make the most out of the network.

Just like businesses and digital transformation, countries that fail to embrace the need to implement 5G sooner may just find themselves playing catchup to the rest of the world.