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Huawei MBBF notes & highlights


It's a long time since the days when a Huawei event meant a one-hour seminar on a new TDM switch. The MBBF event involved white vinyl cinema chairs, a flying saucer-shaped overhead lighting array and 180-degree cinema screens. The conference began when a brass band popped up from within the audience and struck up a Strauss march.


Hutchison Telecom HK chief Peter Wong won points with a deft anecdote that name-checked two of the  headline speakers, Huawei's Ryan Ding and HKT chief Alex Arena, and reminded the host of his loyalty. Twenty years Hutchison became Huawei’s first customer outside mainland China when it bought a number portability solution, as required by the then-regulator, Alex Arena. It worked, but not without some anxious moments for all of them, not least for Ryan Ding, now president of Huawei wireless products, who was the chief designer.  

A robot moderator emerged on the stage ahead of a panel session, only to be smartly evicted by Huawei MC Robert Fox. Not sure if that was an act or a cock-up but we sympathise; who doesn't feel threatened by robots? When the panellist Christian Tarragona from robotics firm Kuka was asked about the Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk warnings on the dangers of AI, silence ensued.

Huawei has the Hong Kong market wrapped up. It’s in tight with the two big mobile operators, PCCW/HKT and Hutchison Hong Kong. Following the PCCW acquisition of CSL last year Huawei became the prime vendor for the merged player, the clear market leader. It's also the main supplier to the no.2, Hutchison. Both PCCW/HKT and Hutchison 3 marked the day with announcements of 1Gbps demos over Huawei gear. The transmission of 1.2 Gbps using 4CC carrier aggregation over HKT's network was claimed as a world record.

Ken Hu, Huawei deputy chair and current (or 'rotating' as Huawei likes to say) CEO, held his first international press briefing. In contrast to one of the other CEO rotators, the outspoken Ken Xu, it's fair to say he didn't drop any major news stories, or possibly any stories at all. Hu said the industry was set for “huge change” in the coming few years, but was “fully confident” Huawei could meet the challenge etc.

Softbank Chief Scientist Takashi Tsutsui shares his pain (above).

“I think today ownership of a network is not so important [as] how to use it.”  Fan Yan Jun, CEO and chairman of China Mobile International, with a pitch for international partners that is a long way from the view of CM's major shareholder.

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