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Huawei steams ahead with 5G mobile technology licensing, amid U.S. trade spat

Yehia El Amine

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Song Liuping
Song Liuping, Huawei’s Chief Legal Officer (Photo Credit Huawei)

In an attempt to flex its technological muscles, Chinese telecom titan Huawei released a white paper on Tuesday highlighting its commitment to R&D and intellectual property.

The white paper – which was unveiled during the Forum on Innovation and IP Prospects in 2021 and Beyond, held at the company’s Shenzhen headquarters – focused on Huawei’s history in innovation and intellectual property (IP) management prior to 2010 and includes data and milestones related to their investment and R&D that spans back to the 1990s.

Many within the telecoms sphere translated the heavily promoted white paper as a response to U.S. accusation of the Chinese vendor’s deceitful behavior with other people’s IPs. 

“We want to show the history of our innovation over the past 30 years and our long-term commitment to respecting, protecting, and contributing to IP. With this white paper, we want you to better understand how Huawei has become what it is today,” Huawei’s Chief Legal Officer Song Liuping stated at the forum.

According to the white paper, Huawei has become one of the world’s largest patent holders through sustained investment in innovation. By the end of 2020, Huawei held over 100,000 active patents in more than 40,000 patent families worldwide.

Jason Ding, Head of Huawei’s Intellectual Property Rights Department, said that the “2020 white paper lists the number of patent applications Huawei filed, or our R&D and innovation activities, in the late 90s and early 2000s.”

Ding also stated that Huawei’s worldwide patent applications were on par with other industry leaders in the early 2000s, and its success today is a result of its long-term investment in innovation and R&D.

In parallel, the document also contained Huawei’s royalty rate for licensing its 5G mobile technology for the first time since the company and other China based firms were designated as national security threats.

Ding noted that Huawei estimates it will receive about 1.2 to 1.3 billion U.S. dollars in revenue from patent licensing between 2019 and 2021. He also announced that for every multi-mode 5G smartphone, Huawei will provide a “reasonable percentage royalty rate of the handset selling price, and a per unit royalty cap at $2.5.”

“Huawei has been the largest technical contributor to 5G standards, and follows fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) principles when it comes to patent licensing,” added Ding, “we hope that the royalty rate we announced today will increase 5G adoption by giving 5G implementers a more transparent cost structure that will inform their investment decisions moving forward.”

Huawei filed its first patent application in China in 1995, and its first patent application in the U.S. in 1999. In 2008, the World Intellectual Property Organization listed Huawei as No. 1 in terms of number of patent applications filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) for the first time.

In 2019, Huawei ranked No. 2 in Europe and No. 10 in the U.S. in terms of the number of patents granted. Huawei is also the largest patent holder in China.

Francis Gurry, former Director General of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), also spoke at the event saying, “in releasing its license fee structure for 5G standard essential patents (SEPs), Huawei is promoting the widespread adoption and use of standards designed to ensure interoperability, reliability and transparent competition, while at the same time providing a fair return for investment in R&D.”

It is worth mentioning that other than South Korean Samsung, Huawei is the only large-scale SEP holder, who also acts as a device player and manufacturer, making it a large force to be reckoned with in 5G mobile technology; in addition, the heavily promoted white paper could act as a reminder to the United States that it isn’t the only major player in terms of intellectual property.

To subtly back up this claim, Huawei also launched a new patent mini site on its website, with patents organized into different portfolios, which will be regularly updated to keep the industry informed of the company’s latest innovations.

Song further highlighted that the company will “regularly announce further innovation and IP activities so that the public can better understand Huawei’s innovation practices.”                                                    

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Yehia is an investigative journalist and editor with extensive experience in the news industry as well as digital content creation across the board. He strives to bring the human element to his writing.

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S. Korean operators to share 5G networks in remote areas

Karim Hussami

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S. Korean operators

South Korea’s three major mobile operators, SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus, have agreed to share their 5G networks in remote coastal and farm towns.

The initiative is designed to accelerate the rollout of 5G networks across the country, Yonhap news agency cited the Korean ICT Ministry as saying. The agreement signed by SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus will enable 5G users to access 5G services regardless of their mobile operator in 131 remote locations across the country.

The ministry said telecom operators will test the network sharing system before the end of this year and aim for complete commercialization in phases by 2024.

The ministry noted that the selected remote regions are sparsely populated, with a population density of 92 people per square kilometer, compared with those without network sharing at 3,490 people per square kilometer.

1 million subscribers in 5g network

In addition, South Korea ended January with 12.87 million subscribers in the 5G segment after a net addition of almost 1 million subscribers in the first months of the year, Yonhap reported, citing data from the Ministry of Science and ICT.

As of February, the country had 13.66 million 5G subscriptions, accounting for 19 percent of its total mobile users. South Korea was the world’s first country to commercialize 5G in April 2019.

The big boost in 5G subscriptions during the first month of the year was due to the popularity of Samsung Electronics’ latest flagship Galaxy S21 smartphones, according to the report.

“Korean telcos are expecting a big surge in 5G adoption this year, with top wireless carrier SK Telecom aiming to have 9 million 5G users by the end of the year, and smaller rival LG Uplus targeting 4 million,” the ministry said.

SK Telecom added a total of 1.21 million 5G subscribers in the last quarter of 2020. For full 2020, SK Telecom saw the addition of 3.4 million subscribers in the 5G segment, according to previous reports.

Total mobile subscriptions in the Asian nation stood at 70.69 million at the end of January, with 4G subscriptions at 51.9 million, down 660,000 compared to December.

The move comes as the country races to establish nationwide 5G coverage, with network equipment currently installed in major cities.

The three telecom operators promised in July last year to invest up to 25.7 trillion won (US$23.02 billion) to update their network infrastructure by 2022.

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Romania bans Huawei from its 5G efforts

Inside Telecom Staff

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Romania bans Huawei

The Romanian government approved on Thursday a United States-supported bill banning China and its mammoth telecoms vendor Huawei from participating in the country’s 5G development efforts, reported Reuters citing a member of the IT&C and National Security Committee.

Romania joins the likes of the U.S., UK, India, and Taiwan who consider Huawei to be persona non grata from their domestic 5G endeavors.

The 5G security concerns, which were ignited by the Trump administration’s trade spat with China, includes espionage, sabotage, and blackmail. The U.S. government considers Huawei as a security risk and has urged allies to shun its equipment over fears it could serve as a Trojan horse for Chinese intelligence services.

The consequences of the trade war have spilled over to Europe as it becomes the center of a technological race divided between Beijing and Washington. Earlier last year, Germany ruled to keep Huawei as a part of the country’s 5G future, delivering a diplomatic blow to the U.S., and favoring Chancellor Angela Merkel’s close relations with China.

However, these tensions with the Chinese tech titan have proved beneficial for European rivals Ericsson and Nokia, who have stepped in markets that dumped Huawei.

The fifth generation of mobile networks is expected to become the de-facto telecoms infrastructure that will set the stage for a wide array of services and products such as autonomous vehicles and the fourth industrial revolution.

“The government just approved this bill of paramount importance for Romania, sealing a 2019 memorandum signed in Washington, meaning that China and Huawei are ruled out from any would-be partnership on 5G with the Romanian state,” Romanian MP Pavel Popescu told Reuters.

The August 2019 memorandum entailed that the move would be “as part of risk-based security approach, careful and complete evaluation of 5G vendors is necessary.”

Romania has always considered the United States as an important ally, even before the country joined NATO back in 2004. In parallel, Huawei has repeatedly denied allegations that it reports back to the Chinese state and has even filed multiple lawsuits in the U.S. courts to battle this claim.

“National security is a key goal and protecting Romania’s future generations’ personal data is crucial,” Popescu told Reuters.

The bill says a vendor’s evaluation should say whether a company is subject to control by a foreign government, has a transparent ownership structure, and is subject to a legal regime that enforces transparent corporate practices.

Popescu said the bill, which could be rubber-stamped in parliament in the next weeks, is a prerequisite to launching 5G tenders in the Black Sea state in second half of the year.

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Cradlepoint intros 5G edge router for in-vehicle networks

Karim Hussami

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Cradlepoint intros 5G

Cradlepoint announced its new R1900 Ruggedized 5G edge Router, designed for in-vehicle networks such as first responders. The device comes with a Cradlepoint NetCloud subscription service that includes cloud-delivered software, endpoints, training and support.

The global leader in cloud-delivered LTE and 5G wireless network edge solutions, offers the router which is optimized for in-vehicle networks and offers superior ruggedness, performance, security, connectivity, and utility in a purpose-built, compact design. Again, Cradlepoint sets the bar for 5G edge solutions.

According to a recent IDC report, the market for enterprise LTE and 5G routers is exploding and forecast to reach close to $3B by 2024.

Importance of 5G edge

As 5G proliferates, enterprise and public sector organizations will take advantage of secure and fiber-fast 5G mobile networks to enable immersive applications for field force productivity and enhanced customer experiences.

“While others view 5G as a simple add-on to existing products, Cradlepoint has taken a clean-sheet-of-paper approach with the R1900,” Todd Krautkremer, chief marketing officer at Cradlepoint said.

“5G is more than just a faster pipe – it enables transformative applications that help mobile workforces be safer and more productive while delivering better customer experiences. However, achieving these benefits requires a 5G mobile router that is up to the task from a reliability, performance, connectivity, security, and edge computing standpoint, and the R1900 with NetCloud delivers on all of these attributes,” he added.

Cradlepoint is a first mover in the “5G for Business” market, shipping the industry’s first enterprise-class 5G product back in June 2020.

Second-generation 5G architecture

In addition, the R1900 is the first product to launch using its second-generation 5G architecture – most network vendors have not shipped their first 5G product. The company’s early 5G and long-standing mobile and IoT experience helped create a global mobile platform that supports the fiber-fast speeds and breadth of use cases enabled by 5G worldwide.

Ken Rehbehn, senior principal analyst at OMDIA says that “Mobile applications and use cases serving the requirements of public safety and enterprise organizations continue to expand, forcing an embrace of high-performance 5G mobile broadband services and edge computing.”

He added: “In-vehicle routers, such as Cradlepoint’s R1900, provide an ideal platform for tying remote workers to rich 5G-enabled cloud applications that boost mission capabilities, helping save lives and reduce property damage.”

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