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Huawei creates new research institute to support its European ambitions

Huawei stand

© G Daniels

China-based vendor Huawei has announced the launch of its new European Research Institute (ERI), to be located in Leuven, Belgium, which it says will be a “key tool for helping Europe achieve the targets of its Digital Agenda” and will strengthen its on-going partnership with European industry. The Institute will oversee the work of the 18 separate R&D sites that Huawei has established in eight European countries, as well as conduct research on next-generation network technology.

“Europe enjoys a favourable industrial environment, and is the global competence centre for Huawei,” said Guo Ping, Huawei rotating CEO. “Our aim is to help Europe achieve smart growth and build a better connected Europe.”

The Institute will support Huawei’s various 5G projects underway in Europe. The firm is a member of several 5G research projects, including the EU’s METIS and 5G-PPP. It is conducting joint research into future mobile networks and implementing a 5G test-bed at the University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre in the UK. It has also launched a 5G Vertical Industry Accelerator (5G VIA) and built a 5G test-bed with European partners in Munich, Germany to simulate real-world scenarios in vertical industries. The first trials of the 5G VIA were conducted last December to demonstrate some of the key features of the new waveforms for a 5G air interface, such as flexible fragmented spectrum usage and latency reduction.

The ERI is to be run by Dr. Zhou Hong, who has been in charge of Huawei’s European R&D, standardisation and technical cooperation activities since 2014. Dr. Walter Weigel, former Director General ETSI, has been appointed vice-president.

Huawei has been busy strengthening its European ties, particularly with regards 5G. Not only was it by far the largest exhibitor at the recent NGMN 5G industry event, but is was the only company to be quoted in the ITU’s announcement this week of the formation of its network Study Group. Rivals Ericsson and the soon-to-be-merged Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent need to up their game if they are not to fall behind in the marketing of “5G leadership perception”.

“We began investing in 5G in 2009,” Wen Tong, Huawei’s head of wireless research said last February, “and recently announced plans to invest an additional $600 million for research and innovation into 5G technologies by 2018.”

Currently, Huawei has over 1,200 R&D employees in Europe. Last year, Huawei said it signed more than 200 technical collaboration agreements with European partners, participated in 17 Framework Programme and Horizon 2020 projects, and cooperated with over 160 European scholars and experts as well as more than 120 academic institutions. It’s taking 5G networks very seriously indeed.

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