The Business Daily (Handelsblatt) reported last week that Germany will allow Huawei to build part of its 5G network.
Japan and South Korea politely but firmly refused to exclude the Chinese telecom giant from the October network. Among the world̵
In the race to develop the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” application that utilizes 5G capabilities, Huawei is now on an internal track.
For example, Huawei expects to add digital medical records and real-time health monitoring capabilities of one billion people outside China to its cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) system in the 2020s. In addition, China’s dominant position in 5G puts it in a leading position in the development of the next phase of 6G broadband.
After Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump in the US presidential election, it is widely expected that Germany will decide not to block any specific equipment providers from 5G construction. Biden’s advisers have said in the past that trying to exclude billions of Huawei users from the global communications network is unrealistic.
The Asian Association and the University of Southern California recently published a report entitled “Responding to China’s Challenges: A New American Technology Competitive Strategy”, which declared: “Although it is feasible to ban the use of Huawei in some major countries, especially allies and partners, It is a global network challenge that requires a multi-faceted solution. Considering Chinese components, user terminals and software will be mixed in the world’s billions of interconnected 5G end users. Therefore, Huawei and other Chinese supplies are completely banned globally The business ban is unrealistic.”
Some of the authors of the report are future officials of the Biden administration.
Japanese media reported in mid-October that Tokyo had rejected the US request to exclude Huawei from its 5G network and told Washington that it would adopt its own security measures to ensure the security of data transmitted through Huawei hardware.
South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency said that a senior South Korean official told a high-level U.S. delegation: “We made it clear that whether a private telecommunications company uses equipment from a specific company depends on the company’s decision.
The Russian business daily Kommersant reported in September that “Russian 5G will be made in China” after Russian mobile service provider MTS switched from Nokia to Huawei equipment to upgrade Moscow’s mobile network. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping signed an overall agreement on 5G cooperation (including joint research and development) at the 2019 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
Excluding Huawei’s 5G equipment from Germany will cause major damage, as the new 5G network must be integrated with existing 4G equipment. Huawei accounts for 65% of the 4G infrastructure of Deutsche Telekom, Germany’s largest mobile service provider, 55% of Vodaphone’s equipment, and 50% of Telefonica’s equipment.
Earlier this month, German officials described Huawei’s decision as a dead end because German industrial lobbyists had a dispute with German security officials who did not want to incur the anger of the American intelligence community. Trump’s loss in the polls seems to have brought the balance to the goal of favoring industrial lobbying, which hopes to cooperate with China.
In Sweden, Huawei is home to Ericsson, Huawei’s biggest rival. After the Swedish Court of Appeal approved Huawei to reconsider the government’s petition to ban the use of its broadband equipment, the national telecommunications regulator postponed the auction of 5G spectrum.
Ericsson itself criticized the government’s ban. China is one of Ericsson’s largest markets and Ericsson’s largest and most modern production plant, which opened in Nanjing last year. Ericsson is expected to account for 10% of China’s huge 5G network, and 10 million base stations are expected to be built by 2024.
One of China’s selling points in the 5G construction competition is that Beijing has begun to develop next-generation or 6G broadband. In November, China launched its first experimental 6G satellite to test data transmission at terahertz (very short) wavelengths. Researchers have discussed the use of terahertz radiation as a mobile broadband platform, but China’s satellite launch is the first space experiment.
In the November “Asia Times” webinar, I asked the industry expert Dr. Handel Jones about the prospects of 6G. Jones, President of the International Business Services Department of the consulting firm, said: “As far as 6G is concerned, China has at least two or three plans. This is a ten-year plan, and the potential of the entire 5G may be ten or one hundred times greater. Quantum communication is a choice. China has established links with quantum communication between Shanghai and Beijing. Obviously, the United States should choose 6G.”
“But who will do it?” Jones added. “Today, we do not have any company in the United States engaged in 5G business. We have some infrastructure, but no base stations, no fiber, so on a global scale, we have Huawei and ZTE in China. In Europe, we have Ericsson and Nokia Samsung is on the rise and may become a force in the market in the future. Certain technologies in Japan are also available. But in the United States, there is not even a 5G company.”
The United States seems likely to adopt the so-called “open radio access network” and “virtualized radio access network” methods, which avoid the use of dedicated chips to design dedicated 5G base stations, and instead use cheap general-purpose hardware powered by complex software .
The cited “China Challenge” report recommends: “The United States should not try to win the game between Huawei and the new US national championship. Instead, the United States should adopt a forward-looking strategy to enable various new entrants to successfully enter the 5G innovation field. To promote the emergence of open and modular architectures (such as ORAN or vRAN), this strategy will weaken the dependence of the entire 5G network on a single equipment provider.”
ORAN/vRan requires the creation of billions of lines of computer code, which must then be tested and retested under actual conditions. It is not clear whether this method will work or how much it will cost. In addition, when it comes to writing code and testing new networks, China will build a national network of 10 million base stations, and it may be very advanced in new applications.
Sometimes, this combination of complex software and general-purpose hardware is advertised as the “6G” answer to Huawei’s dominance in 5G. This is misleading, because using extremely short wavelengths to transmit data requires solving physical problems that researchers are just beginning to understand. Ericsson believes that using an open network involving many hardware vendors and equipment providers may cause a network security nightmare.
Jason Boswell, head of security for Ericsson’s network department, warned last month: “As the industry moves towards 3GPP or O-RAN’s RAN virtualization, it is important to adopt a risk-based approach to adequately address security risks. A secure and open RAN system is possible. Other security measures that have not yet been fully resolved are needed.” Ericsson quietly withdrew from industry organizations earlier this year to promote ORAN/vRan.
After the stock market crash in March 2000, American technology companies gave up their hardware business and focused almost exclusively on software. “Software-based solutions” are suitable for companies whose main business is coding software, but are unlikely to put the United States ahead of China and its growing network of industrial partners.