July 12, 2019, Huawei held a press conference in its Shenzhen headquarters to release the 2018 Sustainability Report. The report summarized Huawei's achievements in sustainable development over the past year. Meanwhile, as a critical point in China-US trade dispute, the telecom giant also elaborated on topics like greener 5G, cybersecurity, intellectual property protection (IPR), and connectivity in the report.
Huawei 5G: more than just faster connection, but a huge reduction in power consumption
5G networks are the next generation of internet connectivity, offering faster speeds and more reliable connections on PC, smartphones and other devices than ever before.
Combining cutting-edge network technology and the very latest research, 5G should offer connections that are multitudes faster than current connections.
In its 2018 sustainability report, Huawei highlighted that it has used high-integration chips, high-efficiency power amplifiers, and 5G-enabled power shutdown to save energy, cutting the power consumption of 5G equipment by 15%.
“There's a fair amount of concern over the power consumption of 5G networks, especially considering the fact that they will have a much larger capacity and transmit data at much faster speeds. Given the sheer number of connections we expect to see, you might think that 5G networks will eat through twice the amount of power that 4G does.
But that's actually not the case. 5G networks are already being deployed, and we anticipate that for the same geographical coverage, overall power consumption for 5G networks will typically be at the same level as 4G. Combining our strengths in software and hardware, we have managed to reduce per-site power consumption to 20% less than the industry average. Our 5G equipment is more energy-efficient. With the right solutions, Huawei's 5G is green,” said Liang Hua, Chairman of Huawei Technologies.
Huawei has worked with carriers to develop 5G energy efficiency assessment standards, and drive continuous improvement for 5G energy efficiency.
Huawei has partnered with China Tower to develop power supply solution for 5G site. According to the statistics released by Hangzhou authorities, the 5G Power solution designed and developed by Huawei and China Tower can save 4130 kWh of power per site per year, cutting 1125 kilograms of carbon emissions. More than 2 million sites will be built or reconstructed for 5G from 2019 to 2022 in China. Huawei 5G Power solution can save 8.3 billion kWh of electricity each year.
Cybersecurity: No evidence to show that Huawei equipment contains backdoors
As the foundation of all security activities, cybersecurity must be built upon trustworthiness, basic product quality, basic security engineering capabilities, and resilient products and solutions, says the report.
Trust is crucial to the digital world. Huawei is committed to building digital products and services that are secure and trustworthy. According to the report, within the next five years, the company will be investing US$2 billion in enhancing its software engineering capabilities, to better respond to cybersecurity and privacy challenges that are affecting the entire industry.
Huawei aims to optimize their software engineering capabilities, as this is the foundation upon which the company will build secure, trustworthy, and high-quality products.
According to the report, the company evaluated 2,778 of their mainstream suppliers for cybersecurity risks and verified the progress of related corrective action plans. They signed a Data Protection Agreement (DPA) with 582 suppliers for privacy protection and performed due diligence on these suppliers.
In April 2019, Bloomberg reported that Vodafone Italy discovered “hidden backdoors” in Huawei equipment that would have allowed the Chinese company to access users’ home networks as well as Vodafone’s Italian fixed-line network—that has provoked public concern.
However, in the report, the telecom giant claimed that it has a robust cybersecurity assurance system, and third-party security organizations were invited to evaluate its products independently. It has been proven that Huawei equipment has never caused a large-scale network breakdown, and has never experienced any serious security incidents. The report also clarified that there is also absolutely no evidence to show that Huawei equipment contains backdoors.
IPR: Huawei has set up dedicated compliance and oversight teams to further bolster the management and oversight of their global business operations
The company stated that it applies common international intellectual property rules and deals with intellectual property matters in accordance with international conventions and strictly abides by applicable laws and regulations that protect trade secrets.
According to the Financial Times, Huawei has paid more than $6 billion in royalties to legally implement other companies’ intellectual property, with nearly 80% of its payments going to US companies.
Moreover, Huawei has set up dedicated compliance and oversight teams to further bolster the management and oversight of their global business operations. Meanwhile, a complete trade secret protection system has been established by the company, it is resolutely against any practices that infringe upon the trade secrets of others.
A proactive and friendly attitude to address IPR issues through various channels like cross-licensing and business partnerships was adopted by Huawei. Besides, the company invests in long-term R&D and continuously enrich its IPR portfolio. Huawei is one of the world's top owners of patents.
As of December 31, 2018, the total number of patents granted to Huawei Patents reached 87,805. The company has already signed patent agreements with companies, including AT&T, Qualcomm and Apple.
Previously, Huawei had asked Verizon to pay more than USD 1 billion in royalties for its 230 patents. In response, Song Liuping, the company’s chief legal officer said, “Huawei’s fundamental principle of intellectual property rights is that they should be defensive, not offensive in nature, so we will not weaponize our patents and oppose excessive patent fees.”
The power of Ubiquitous Connectivity
The world is entering a digital era with connectivity as its foundation. Connectivity enables communication amongst people, exchanges of information between people and machines, and allows equipment and machines to recognize and engage with each.
Connectivity has become a fundamental human need. For people who are familiar with a digital lifestyle, even a few hours of disconnection from the internet can drive them crazy at ease.
However, according to GSMA, more than 1 billion people are not covered by mobile broadband services, while a further 3.8 billion people are not connected to the internet, representing half of the world’s population. To help those people who are disconnected to the internet, Huawei continues to build intelligent connections and deploy base stations quickly and at a low cost.
One of Huawei’s missions is to “Bring digital to every person, home and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world.”
In its “connectivity” section of 2018 sustainability report, Huawei outlined a few classical cases that bring digital connectivity to all corners of the world.
In Nigeria, 51% of the population lives in rural villages scattered across vast grasslands or forests, and many villagers lack basic communications infrastructure and live in an “Information silo”. As mobile signal coverage is poor, most villagers have to walk several miles to make a call in town. The cost of building traditional base stations there is very high due to poor infrastructure and lack of main supply or power transmission facilities.
To solve this problem, Huawei and MTN Group work together to deploy the Huawei RuralStar 2.0 solution in Nigeria to bring network connections to remote areas.
At the 2017 Mobile Broadband Forum (MBBF) held in London, Huawei launched RuralStar 2.0, an innovative rural network solution.
RuralStar 2.0 allows a rural network to provide cost-effective mobile broadband services as well as traditional voice services in remote areas. RuralStar 2.0 will play a significant role in bringing the digital connectivity to emerging markets.
RuralStar has been commercially deployed in more than 20 countries, including Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Algeria, Thailand, Mexico, and Peru.
Huawei not only has boosted its presence in developing regions, but also has expanded footholds in the developed world. According to a report released by French telecom regular ARCEP in 2009, 99.82% of the French population and 97.7% of French regions are covered by telecommunications networks. But still 1% of France's total population or more than 4,000 French regions so called “white zones” were unconnected to networks.
Since 2011, Huawei has collaborated with Bouyques Telecom to deploy 3G networks in these while zones. By 2018, Huawei has covered 3,300 of the 4,000 while zones with 3G networks. All of these zones will be covered with 4G by 2022.