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Huawei to pump £400 million into 5G research

Chinese vendor outlines five-year plan to get next generation networks up and running.

person building piles of gold coins that get larger as they go on

Huawei is to invest over 400 million ($600 million) into the research and development of 5G networks and equipment.

The Chinese firm predicts the first 5G networks should be ready to deploy commercially by 2020, and sport data speeds of over 10Gbps, which is around 100 times faster than current 4G technology.

"While we continue to evolve our existing 4G network capabilities, we plan to invest a minimum of US$600 million over the next five years on research and innovation for 5G mobile network technologies, to ensure that we are meeting consumers' demands for increasingly faster and better connections," said Eric Xu, rotating chief executive of Huawei.

However, the investment does not include outlays to productise 5G technologies.

"5G mobile networks with the peak data rates of over 10Gbps will allow people to download high-definition movies in one second and provide a true-to-life video communications experience," he added.

The telecoms firm began investing in 5G four years ago and at Mobile World Congress in 2011 and 2012, the company demonstrated 5G prototype base stations with a capacity of up to 50 Gbps. 

So far, Huawei has taken part in the EU's 5G research projects, worked on the establishment of the 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) in the UK at Surrey University, and contributed to joint research programmes with over 20 universities around the world. 

But Xu said there were several problems that had to be resolved before 5G can become a reality.

"These include the availability of spectrum and technological challenges, such as how to engineer network architectures capable of handling increasingly higher data volumes and transmission speeds necessary to accommodate more users on the network," said Xu.

Xu added that by 2020, an estimated 6.5 billion people worldwide will use mobile networks for data communications and 100 billion of additional things', such as vehicles, meters, medical devices, and home appliances, will also be connected to the network over 5G.

"We have already achieved many technological breakthroughs in 5G research and innovation, but the majority of the work remains ahead of us," he concluded.

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