Huawei in 5G vehicle move in Spain and plans £3bn UK spend

Huawei says it has demonstrated a 5G vehicle system with Telefónica in Spain and has promised to spend £3 billion in the UK.

Telefónica and Huawei said they have achieved a new milestone with the world’s first proof-of-concept testbed for 5G-based vehicle communication networks in their 5G Joint Innovation Lab at Madrid.

The trial was to test whether a vehicle system can achieve high reliability and low-latency – an essential requirement for autonomous driving – using a macro cellular network covering urban, suburban and rural use.

According to Huawei, the exercise achieved 99.999% reliability with a latency of just 1ms.

Enrique Blanco, the global CTIO of Telefónica, said the demonstration “is another step towards 5G commercialisation and a fully connected society. We will strengthen our collaboration by verifying 5G key technologies. Multiple novel use cases will be developed and provided to our customers.”

The test was based on the latest standard for 5G radio, set in December 2017. So far it covers advanced driving and remote driving, said Huawei, but improvements will be needed for fully self-driving cars. For a start, vehicle-to-vehicle communications will be needed.

Meanwhile Huawei said it has committed to procurement worth £3 billion in the UK over the next five years, having exceeded its previous five-year target of £1.3 billion by around 50%: it spent around £2 billion in the country between 2013 and 2017.

Sun Yafang, chairwoman of Huawei, made the pledge during a meeting with UK prime minister Theresa May in Beijing last week.

Huawei gave no details on how the £3 billion would be spent, but it noted that it now employs more than 1,500 people in the UK in 15 offices, including its head office in Reading.

Sun said: “Huawei values long-term partnership. The UK was one of the first international markets we entered, when we opened our first office there in 2001. We have now been working with our major customers in the UK for more than 12 years, helping to build a better connected UK.”