China’s change of plan in 5G deployment: a helping hand to Huawei?


China Mobile’s abrupt change of plan to deploy non-standalone (NSA), from standalone (SA), 5G network at scale is helping Huawei reduce storage in domestic market when the telecommunications giant faces bans abroad.

Industry insiders and analysts say Huawei had produced huge amount of NSA 5G network equipment for overseas markets before it was banned by some major western countries, including not just the US, but also countries like Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Germany, France, etc.

Huawei may face major difficulties in cash-flow if it failed to sell out these equipment already produced, said in an analysis titled “Why did China change plans in 5G deployment”, which went viral on WeChat, China’s dominating social media app, last week.

“Chinese government considers Huawei is too big to fall down,” the article, written by Tieliu, an obvious pen-name in Chinese, argued.

NSA and SA are different ways to deploy 5G network. NSA means the 5G networks will be supported by existing 4G infrastructure, while SA requires brand new infrastructure.

Li Zhengmao, executive vice-president of China Mobile, China’s state-owned and largest telecommunication service provider, unveiled the company’s plan to deploy to deploy NSA 5G at scale in China within this year.

His remarks departed from China Mobile’s earlier tone that it would choose to deploy SA networks at home.

China Telecom, the country’s other major telecommunications service provider, also voiced its preference for SA networks in 2018.

NSA is preferred in many western countries for it will avoid wasting existing 4G infrastructure.

In such circumstance, Huawei’s choice was selling NSA equipment abroad first and SA at home, the article by Tieliu argued.

“But boycott by the Trump administration caused trouble for Huawei in the overseas market,” it said, adding Huawei resorted to domestic service providers to procure its NSA equipment instead.

“Such measure would help Huawei earn a large amount of cash, while significantly reduce storage of NSA equipment,” it noted.

An US-based 5G network engineer, who works for a leading mobile network equipment producer, confirmed the argument of the article by Tieliu.

Huawei couldn’t be reached for comment.


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