Huawei launches first 5G base station chipset amid international pushback

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CEO of Huawei’s consumer business Yu Chengdong (Image credit: Huawei)

Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei has launched its first chip for 5G base stationsmarking the companys effort to decrease its reliance on foreign components.

The chipset, dubbed Huawei Tiangang, could make base stations, which serve as a contact point for devices connecting to a mobile network, 50% smaller, according to Chinese media Jiemian. Huawei said on Thursday at the launch event in Beijing that the chip will allow 90% of 4G base stations to be given 5G capabilities without a significant overhaul. 

The release comes amid increased international scrutiny of Huawei’s equipment over espionage concerns, resulting in higher barriers for the company in the global market. Australia and New Zealand have excluded Huawei from their 5G deployment, while Germany is reportedly considering a similar move. Previously, the US has leveled government-wide restrictions on all Huawei devices.

The telecom equipment manufacturer also appears to be focused on becoming more self-reliant in core technology development to offset pushback abroad. It unveiled its two AI chips late last year, taking on major US players Qualcomm and Nvidia.

Huawei on Thursday also launched a 5G chip for smartphones, smart home devices, and connected vehicles. The company announced that it had secured 30 business contracts during the past year, half of which are from Europe.

5G and artificial intelligence have been the hottest topics over the past year and Huawei has made great strides in the fields,” Jiemian cites Ding Yun, CEO of Huawei’s carrier business group, as saying at the launch event. He added that the company would this year livestream China’s annual Spring Festival Gala—the world’s most-watched television show—over 5G for the first time.

According to the global patent database IFI Claims Patent ServicesHuawei ranked 16th in terms of the number of US patents granted last year, with 1,680 applications winning approval.