What to expect from Huawei Global Mobile Broadband Forum 2016

The world of mobile broadband is about more than just 5G

Last week over breakfast, I told an industry insider that I was heading to Tokyo this week for the seventh annual Huawei Mobile Broadband Forum (MBB Forum) and we got to discussing the topics that are coming up over the course of the two-day event. In particular, we started talking about 5G.

I'm openly sceptical about 5G - it's not that I don't believe it can be done, of course, but in the UK at least there have been a lot of grand pronouncements, but very little action. 4G isn't exactly universal throughout the country, either in rural areas even 3G can be a luxury and while research into the technology is underway at several locations currently, when there will be a workable breakthrough is another matter.

My conversation partner was somewhat more upbeat than me, however, and told me that the 5G breakthrough will come sooner rather than later and in their opinion, when it does, "it will come from Huawei".

And despite my general cynicism, I think they could well be right.

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Huawei has been working on interim steps, such as 4.5G, for some time and the company is both realistic about what it can do now (no one has ever tried to 'sell' 4.5G to me as 5G) and impassioned about what will be doable in the future - and when.

So what of this year's MBB Forum? Well yes, there is 5G - 5G living, how we get to 5G, what we do in the meantime - but there's a lot of other interesting topics as well.

Expect to hear plenty about the IoT and practical use cases for it (Sony, Toshiba and LG are all giving different talks on this topic), as well as collaboration, wireless working, cloud and mobility.

Digital business and digital payments are also on the agenda, which couldn't be more timely with both the rise of Apple Pay and Android pay and news that Barclays is trialling cash machines that let people withdraw money using their phone.

It's an exciting time to be in the tech industry, and mobile connectivity is at the very heart of the revolution going on all around us.

Huawei Mobile Broadband Forum 2016 runs from 24-25 November. Features editor and networking correspondent Jane McCallion will be on site throughout the event - follow her on Twitter for live updates and click here for full coverage of the event in one place.

Main image credit: Jane McCallion, IT Pro

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