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Emergency big telco meeting over Huawei at MWC

Knocking Huawei and ZTE out of the bidding could easily lead to increases of 10% to 30% in equipment spending. CITI analyst Amit Harchandani already hears “customers talk about the fact that any potential action against the Chinese could trigger price inflation within the industry.

GSMA Director General, Mats Granryd, will bring the issue to the Board during Mobile World Congress in three weeks. The GSMA Board includes the CEOs of Orange/France Telecom, Telefonica, Telstra, MTN, Axiata, Turkcell, NTT DOCOMO, MTS, and SK (Korea.) Verizon, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, and the three giant Chinese are sending top executives.

British Telecom and Deutsche Telekom have both been actively trying to protect Huawei. DT has designed a special program of extensive testing for Huawei gear. It hopes that will satisfy the security people. Howard Watson of BT made a point of publicly stating Huawei was ahead on 5G. That led many to believe blocking Huawei would slow 5G deployment, as it has in Optus Australia.

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FBI attacking Huawei for testing “unbreakable” diamond-coated screen

It’s essentially impossible for a company with 180,000 employees around the world not to occasionally go over the line. With the U.S. and other security forces investigating massively, they are sure to find something.

“Nobody’s perfect” as Joe E. Brown said to Marilyn Monroe. My observation is that Huawei is at least as ethical as other large companies and more careful than most.

Adam Kahn has developed a break resistant glass screen for cellphones which is coated on one side with a microthin layer of artificial diamond. He sent a sample to Huawei in San Diego for testing. It was broken when returned.

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Huawei est le spécialiste mondial. Le Monde

The U.S. attack has boomeranged. It’s led people to think Huawei is more and more ahead in 5G. Six months ago, an analyst I respect, Caroline Gabriel, speculated that Ericsson was slightly ahead. I replied maybe, but there’s not enough data. Howard Watson of BT put Huawei ahead in November, which influenced many of us.

Suddenly, pundits and the press, most of whom ignored Huawei on the past, are saying that Huawei is “12-24 months ahead” and things like that. (It probably is, but others are very close.) Most know nothing on the subject.

Huawei’s reputation around the world is much higher since the U.S. named it number one.

Quote from Le Monde,

U.S. vs. Huawei for taking picture of T-Mobile robot.

In a company of 180,000 employees, almost certainly some will break the rules. Huawei has a strong official policy to follow the law of each country.

This happened five years ago and would not have been prosecuted ordinarily. T-Mobile and Deutsche Telekom continue to trust Huawei and have purchased equipment for hundreds of millions since the incident.

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U.S. versus Huawei on Iran

Samsung is the largest phone provider in Iran. Nokia and Ericsson are active, as is Huawei. U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker asserts, “Huawei and its Chief Financial Officer broke U.S. law.” In a very unusual fashion, Whitaker, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross (center,)
Kirstjen Nielsen of Homeland Security, and another official announce the indictment. (Pictured.)

The complete announcement.

Chinese Telecommunications Conglomerate Huawei and Huawei CFO Wanzhou Meng Charged With Financial Fraud

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Huawei new TIANGANG chip for millions of base stations

Huawei has a realistic hope of shipping 100,000 5G base stations in 2019 and millions more in future years. That allows them to amortize the chip development cost over a large volume. (Chips like this cost tens or hundreds of millions to develop.)

Nomura analyst Bing Duan estimates China will deploy 172,000 bases in 2019, more than the entire rest of world. Huawei and ZTE usually get 30%-40% of the orders, taking Huawei much of the way to 100,000 units.

China Tower expects 2,000,000 by 2022-2023. Bing sees 5,000,000 total by 2025. Those figures seem a miracle to Westeners but China has performed miracles in the past. The country has 344 million fibre homes connected. Most were delivered in four years.

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5G phone Balong 5000 chips

Huawei’s HiSilicon is by far the largest chip company in China, rapidly climbing the world rankings. So it’s no surprise they are alongside Qualcomm as the first two to volume production of 5G chips. The Balong 5000 is produced on the TSMC 7 nm production line, alongside Qualcomm. The chip will power a 5G hub and the 5G folding phone coming at MWC

Both chips are likely to be in extremely short supply until the summer and sell only modestly in 2019. Apple had bought 70% of the 7 nm production capability for the iPhone, leaving little for all others. Slow iPhone sales may open wafers for others.

HiSilicon has 20,000,000,000 transistors in the KUNPENG 920 server chip, more than any other chip yet announced. The Kunpeng has strong AI capabilities, many of which will likely appear in the Balong.

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Huawei shipped 105M phones in China in 2018

Three times as many as Apple in Q4. #1 if Oppo & Vivo are counted as separate companies. #2 if their sales are merged because of common ownership.  Huawei was up 23%. Oppo shipped 83 million and Vivo 79 million.

Xiaomi sold 50 million and Apple 34 million. The “others” were 57 million, down 45%. Samsung is down to almost nothing. Overall, smartphone sales in China fell 11%. Many of us are happy keeping our old phones.

Apple is cutting prices across China to move units. TSMC reported nearly a two quarter supply of chips for iPhone. Phones are a fashion business. “In fashion, one day you are in and the next day out.”Continue reading

20,000,000,000 transistors in Kunpeng 920 server chip

Huawei announced yet another 7 nm chip, designed for the servers Huawei is building for telco networks. It seems to be the largest chip yet announced. Apple and Qualcomm have 16 million transistor chips and Huawei’s Kirin 980 is in the same class.

Designs at that level require hundreds of engineers and cost hundreds of millions. None of the other telecom companies have announced any.

TSMC is the only place on earth that can produce 7 nanometer chips like this today. Samsung is doing similar but I don’t think they are selling any yet. Intel’s “10 nanometer” is comparable but not yet in production.

Huawei will be shipping hundreds of thousands of servers in the next three years.

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Honor camera beats iPhone

Sam Byford at The Verge tested the new Honor 20 with 48 megapixel Sony camera against the iPhone XS Max. The Honor with the Sony IMX586 took better photos at about half the price.

Honor 20 camera vs iPhone XS camera
Click for full size

Byford has side by side and sliding comparisons. The IMX clearly captures more detail. It’s an impressive phone, a 6.4″ LCD with a top of the line Kirin 980. It’s pricing from US$500-700.

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