“Bill Gates: Paranoia on China is a ‘crazy approach’ to innovation”

Nikkei reports from a Gates speech in New York, “that trying to stop Beijing from developing innovative technologies is “beyond realistic.”

“Huawei, like all goods and services, should be subject to an objective test. The rule that everything that comes from China is bad … that is one crazy approach to trying to take advantage of innovation.”

Marrian Zhou, writing in Nikkei, added, “When the event moderator said the Trump administration is unlikely to consider that approach as sufficient to solve security concerns, Gates replied: ‘Anyone with tech expertise would think so.'”

Gates retired from Microsoft in 2007. His foundation has done important work around the world for health.

Bill also made an exaggerated comment about Elisabeth Warren’s proposed wealth tax. However, he also implied he would vote for her over Trump.

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In standards, Huawei, Ericsson, Nokia, & ZTE work together

90% of what happens in standards consists of extraordinary engineers working together in good faith. In this 3GPP email exchange, Bruno Landis of Nokia, Frank Yong Yang of Ericsson, Caixia Qi of Huawei, and Li Zhijun of ZTE exchanged ideas and worked out one of the hundreds of issues not yet decided for 5G.

This is from an open mailing list of the 3GPP standards group. As you can see, the tone is respectful as they try to get things right. This corresponds to my experience in standards. Honest folk, working hard to move the industry forward.

The exchange is also interesting because it shows how complicated even seemingly minor 5G questions can be. I’m writing a book on 5G and wouldn’t understand most of the below with help from an expert.

Any error could have practical complications. Some might be minor, like a call drop when you go from France to Germany. Others can be more severe. In the last few years in the US, the 9-1-1 emergency system has failed several times. (I don’t know if better standards could have prevented that.)

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2000 Towers at Saudi Zain

Zain has 2000 5G towers, more than Deutsche Telecom and about as many as British Telecom. Vodafone and Telefonica are probably lower but they don’t release figures. The plan is for 2600 towers by the end of 2019.

Zain, Etisalat, STC, Batelco, and several other carriers are working to make the Gulf the most advanced 5G market outside of China and Korea.

Vendors tell me the Gulf countries are buying a great deal of equipment. The press releases keep coming but this is one of the first with firm numbers. All data very welcome.

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Tripling Russia phone sales to 37% share

When Ren said that the US attack had inspired Huawei people to work even more effectively, most took that for bluster. But the results are coming in, including a remarkable increase in sales in Russia, a large market.

Huawei also is building a 5G network for MTS, agreed shortly after the meeting between Putin & Xi. Russia, which has the lowest mobile prices in Europe, had been holding off on 5G until 2021.

Huawei is investing massively in several new research centers in Russia, Ren noted that Russian universities consistently won international prizes in computer science. Google and the other Americans grab the best graduates. Huawei intends to change that, including by making much higher salary offers.

The sales increase in Russia, China, and the rest of the world is more than making up for the sales lost to the Google blockade.

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Huawei’s phone sales up 29% Q3

Huawei sold 67 million smartphones in Q3, 18% of the world market. Samsung is ahead at 22% but the gap is narrowing quickly. The US boycott is having some effect, especially in Europe. Otherwise, Huawei would be on track to catch Samsung at the end of this year.

After two years of stagnation, smartphone sales climbed by 2%. The figures are from Strategy Analytics, a respected source. (Full release below) The boom in China 5G is key to Huawei’s success.

Apple and almost everyone else saw sales drop. Apple is confident they will sell 80 million 5G phones, although they probably won’t launch until September.

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Huawei Sales Q3 +27%

It’s all over but the shouting. Huawei will survive and thrive, no matter what the US does short of bombing Shenzen. Despite the US blockade, Raymond Zhong of the NY Times calculates Q3 sales were up 27% over the previous year. I expect 2019 sales will be about US$120 billion.

“Sales from January to September were $86 billion, an increase of nearly 25 percent from a year earlier, Huawei said. That implies, based on comparisons with previously released figures, that sales accelerated in the July-to-September quarter.”

Zhong notes you have to go beyond the (limited) financial release/

It can also be selective about which numbers it shares … the company did not offer a breakdown of its latest sales for different business divisions, which would have provided a better sense of how it has been dealing with the American blacklisting.

I have some details for Zhong. Ritchie Peng said Huawei has now shipped 400,000 5G radios, billing over several quarters billions. He added the demand was far beyond expectations.

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Radio frequency for phones: Huawei doesn’t need U.S.

Donald Trump and others in D.C. are completely certain Huawei needs parts from America. That’s total hubris. Huawei designs its own custom chips for mobile, led by the Kirin 980 & 990. Screens, power supplies, and just about everything are available outside the US.

The one major exception – until now – was RF (radio frequency) parts. 5G phones must support over two dozen frequency bands. They must filter out unwanted signals, perform error correction, and amplify what often will be very weak signals, all at very high 5G speeds.

The problem is mostly solved. The top of the line Mate 30 only requires 2 US parts. Huawei and suppliers like Murata Japan will soon be able to replace those as well. Chinese universities and military suppliers already produce state of the art chips.

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Blasphemy: The US problem is Huawei’s security is too good

Everyone knows the $100B/year US security apparatus taps almost the entire Internet. Friendly governments help from Australia to Canada to France. Companies like AT&T, Ericsson, Verizon, and Nokia obviously cooperate.

The NSA assumes that China is attempting to do the same and that Huawei as a Chinese company will provide assistance. The evidence suggests otherwise.

Huawei is the primary opponent of US security. Hundreds of expert agents have been looking for evidence of Huawei spying. They haven’t found anything. The dog hasn’t barked. Almost certainly, little or nothing is going on.

Could it be that Huawei’s offence is not cooperating with US spying, unlike Nokia & Ericsson? I have no evidence, but it’s a plausible inference.

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Huawei custom chip radios win European fans

Custom chips run faster, draw less power, and need less cooling. It’s standard practice to use reprogrammable FPGA’s during test and low volume production. Nearly all designs move to custom when they reach enough volume, 10’s or 100’s of thousands.

Huawei has now shipped 400,000 5G base stations. That it is switching to dedicated chips normally wouldn’t be worth a story. However, experienced analyst Joe Madden told a major newspaper the Europeans wouldn’t be happy with the new units. I see no evidence Europeans carriers are pulling back from Huawei. Two confirmed to me they will happily buy the Huawei radios without the US parts.

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Dear Tom. Huawei has shipped 600,000 of your Massive MIMO systems

Tom Marzetta introduced Massive MIMO in his classic 2010 paper, Noncooperative Cellular Wireless with Unlimited Numbers of Base Station Antennas. Huawei has now shipped 200,000 4G MM radios and 400,000 5G radios. All 5G systems to date are designed for Massive MIMO.

In 2014, Tom told me to expect systems in four or five years. So I was startled to discover ZTE and Huawei shipping MM systems in 2016. I believe I was the first to report that China Mobile was buying 4G MM from Huawei. Huang Yuhong of China Mobile told me to expect MM would deliver about three times the capacity.

Although Marzetta invented MM at Nokia Bell Labs, Nokia did not ship until 2018. Ericsson and Samsung also began deliveries in 2018. The Chinese are clearly ahead.

Huawei announced their third generation of MM at their Zurich event, with improved software/algorithms. Ryan Ding told us Huawei employs 700 mathematicians, surely more than competitors.

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The unbelievably high cost of the war against Huawei (first analysis)

U.S. companies were selling $11 billion a year of parts to Huawei before the blockade. Losing those sales is just the start of the damage. Every other Chinese and Russian company is making sure to find non-US suppliers. The U.S. has threatened India and Turkey with sanctions as well.

As other companies replace US components, the impact will be tens of billions more than the $11 billion of Huawei suppliers. Redesigning mobile phones and other products can take from three months to three years, so sales will be lost over time.

The relative decline in sales at Qualcomm and Broadcom suggests they are seeing other customers are cutting back, not just Huawei. That isn’t certain yet, however.

European companies are considering similar self-protection. A very senior German engineer tells me German companies in automotive and electronics are also designing out components only available from the US. Given how few electronic products are produced and manufactured in the US, the ultimate impact can be huge.

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