MBBF18 sets industry on path to 5G
Huawei’s 2018 Global Mobile BroadBand Forum (MBBF) in London attracted more than 2,200 of the industry’s most influential executives from operators, vertical industries, regulators and standards organisations. In a year when 5G technology saw commercial launch, the show’s key message was clear: 5G is inspiring the future. It’s building a fully connected, intelligent world.
The tone was set in an opening keynote from Ken Hu,Huawei’s rotating chairman, who kicked off the event by providing an update on the path to 5G, stating the technology will deliver a revolution which will “bring new power to all ICT technologies, and trigger sweeping changes in business”.
5G has arrived
The executive said: “Generally speaking, the progress of the 5G network deployment is much faster than we expected 12 months ago. From every angle, 5G is ready: it is ready to use, standards are ready, and end-to-end solutions including the network equipment and devices are ready too. And the commercial deployment has started.”
Hu revealed that Huawei has shipped more than 10,000 5G base stations to Europe, the Middle East and China. In total, 154 operators are testing 5G in 66 countries.
“More importantly, the demand is here,” Hu stated, noting that the most immediate use case is for fixed wireless access (which the vendor calls WTTx).
Alongside Hu, MBBF18 played host to a stellar line up of keynote speakers from across the mobile ecosystem. GSMA director general Mats Granryd focused on how 5G will fuel an era of intelligent connectivity, while Guiqing Liu, EVP of China Telecommunications Corporation, said 5G should enable operators to explore new growth opportunities, with the technology helping the industry to break boundaries around business applications.
Other highlights from the keynote stage included presentations from Bell, BT, Deutsche Telekom, KPN, MTN Group, Orange, Sunrise and 3UK.
Third party speakers included luxury car brand Aston Martin. Simon Sproule, VP and CMO, declared that one of the most interesting periods of change in the global automotive industry is being enabled entirely by technology covering connected cars, autonomous vehicles, shared mobility and electrification.
Attendees also heard of progress around the concept of the 5G City during a panel discussion featuring operators BT/EE, Elisa, Orange Spain, Telefonica Germany, Telus and analyst firm ABI Research.
Neil McRae, MD and chief architect at BT, said 5G is a crucial aspect for society; an enabling platform offering “a huge leap forward” for the industry. And McRae heaped praise on Huawei for its role in the development of 5G, insisting that “Huawei is the world’s one true 5G supplier”.
“The other guys are behind and they need to catch up. The challenge for other network providers is to learn from Huawei,” he said.
Another highlight from the keynote stage was BT Sport’s live 5G link from Wembley Stadium. Together with BT Sport (the sports broadcasting business of parent BT), EE conducted a live, two-way broadcast over 5G from Wembley (located to the west of the metropolis) to ExCeL Exhibition Centre (east) where Huawei’s MBBF was taking place.
An EE 5G test network in the stadium was deployed. This comprised a 5G antenna using the operator’s 3.4GHz spectrum, which connected to a 10Gb/s backhaul. Production of the content generated was handled remotely by a BT Sport team located in Stratford, east London.
Host company Huawei was well represented on the keynote agenda. In addition to the opening keynote from rotating chairman Ken Hu, David Wang, Executive Director of the Board, spoke of how AI is keeping us on the road towards a self-driving future, while Ryan Ding, Executive Director of the Board and President of Huawei’s Carrier Business Group, outlined how 5G will take mobile “to new horizons.” And Edward Deng, President of Huawei Wireless Solution, closed the keynotes with a presentation highlighting the company’s SingleRAN Pro technology and how it can empower mobile broadband services.
As well as the keynotes, the forum featured a 2,700-square-meter indoor convention hall where Huawei showcased breakthrough network technologies like SingleRAN Pro, and next-generation application Cloud X. Organisations like GSMA, TechUK, and the Government of the Netherlands also had exhibits, alongside 10 different mobile operators from Europe, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific, and 36 Huaweipartners from around the globe. The exhibition hall truly showcased how the event is an open and collaborative platform between operators and vertical industries where the industry’s most promising applications are enabled.
And outside the convention hall, the UK's operators – BT/EE and Three UK – worked side-by-side to showcase the latest solutions and applications, including a moving vehicle, giving attendees the opportunity to experience a 5G network via virtual reality. Meanwhile Vodafone demonstrated the latest C-V2X application.
It wasn’t all about the UK operators though, with STC, HKT, TIM and Elisa all highlighting significant progress on the showfloor towards 5G.
Roundtables and Summits
This year’s MBBFalso featured various Wireless Industry and Technology Talks, including topics on LTE andEmerging Markets. Three roundtables explored the potential of Digital Indoor Systems, wireless automation and C-V2X, while a Cloud AR/VR Summit in partnership with the GSMA also drew in the crowds.
New for this year was Speakers Corner, a popular area of the showfloor where a wide variety of third-party companies gave insight into the latest developments.
And no MBBF would be complete without the popular, invite-only, C-Suite Business Roundtable and CTO Roundtable.
On the eve of the 9th annual MBBF, Huawei hosted both exclusive and high-profile roundtables at London’s Savoy Hotel. The second annual C-Suite Business Roundtable gathered key decision makers from governments, regulators, operators and vertical industries to examine how 5G will accelerate the digital economy. Meanwhile the thirteenth CTO Roundtable saw high-level executives from several of the world’s leading mobile operators and other vertical industries discuss the evolution of mobile broadband, including its impact on the latest ICT trends and the vast opportunities presented to the industry. Participants discussed two of the industry’s hottest topics: network automation and of course, 5G, with valuable exchanges between all attendees.
The 2018 MBBF was an industry-leading show, attracting key decision makers and influencers from across the world. With 5G now a reality, this year’s show demonstrated a range of exciting new services set to revolutionise our industry. We will see you again at the 2019 event!