The company used its pre-Mobile World Congress 2017 (Barcelona 27 Feb-1Mar.) media briefing to position itself as “the real business partner for operators”, stating that “only when the carriers grow can Huawei grow”.
In a presentation in London last Monday, Zhilei Zou, president of Huawei’s Carrier Business Group, said “we want to improve operations efficiency and network opportunity, so the end user needs can be met”.
Acknowledging the telecoms industry today is very different from that of ten years ago, the executive said the market is nonetheless “broader and deeper than our imagination”. “As long as you can seize the opportunity, you can have good growth,” he claimed.
Huawei focused on video as a source of growth for operators, having previously argued this is becoming a basic service for operators. Such offerings can have benefits in terms of reduced churn and increased ARPU, Zou said. “If they can do a good job in the video business, they can do well elsewhere,” he observed.
Kunlong Li, director of Huawei’s carrier video business highlighted the experience of an operator in South Korea where video revenue matches broadband revenue. He also said in the US, video on demand revenue now matches box office spend.
For operators, there is also the opportunity to monetise video services in several different ways. At the base level is the monetisation of broadband capacity; above this is experience monetisation, for example charging more for 4K video services; and on the top ecosystem monetisation, offering opportunities through avenues such as advertising, gaming, shopping, education and e-health.
“The most important part of video is the user experience: experience is the king. That is why the operator is so important as a key player in this game – it’s because the network has never been as critical as now,” Li said.
5G and cloud
Unsurprisingly, the path to 5G will also be a key theme for Huawei in Barcelona, with the company promising its first phase of commercial products will be available in 2018 to support early operator deployments.
Ken Wang, president of global marketing and solution sales with the vendor, said operators need to be ready for the new technology on three fronts: network architecture ready, spectrum ready, and business ready.
Peter Zhou, CMO of the wireless network product line , identified three key opportunities for 5G. Video again received attention, along with openings in vertical markets.
However, Huawei again positioned 5G as a way to improve household broadband connectivity, noting there remains a massive number of properties which require either broadband access or, where broadband access is available, would benefit from a speed boost.
Zhou also reiterated the need for operators to deploy 4.5G technology as a stepping stone to 5G, stating there are 68 such networks commercially, increasing to more than 120 this year.
“To develop 5G oriented services, we don’t need to wait until 5G networks are ready,” he said.
Zho said also Huawei is taking “concrete steps” in evolving towards an All Cloud architecture, building on announcements made by the company and at its 2016 Global Mobile Broadband Forum.
Noting the company in the past “developed a lot of boxes”, he said the focus shifted to how to use assets in the most effective manner and it today has “no vested interests to protect” in the evolution to the cloud.
Libin Dai, director of the network transformation management department, carrier business group marketing, said: “Huawei is committed to becoming the advocator, enabler and leader of all cloud, so within two-to-three years, Huawei will adopt that strategy in all products and solutions, to enable the business success of our customers”.
He said the company is set to update on seven new all cloud products and solutions at Mobile World Congress.