The extent to which Chinese technology has been used is unclear. But some analysts believe Huawei has more 5g know-how than any other company. Even if not, the Chinese supplier is undoubtedly one of the major contributors to 5g patents.
For American hawks, this is a fact that cannot be ignored. First, it allows China to collect royalties for related equipment sold in the US market, which will benefit Chinese manufacturers such as Huawei and ZTE.
More importantly, this means that China effectively controls a large part of the 5g standard. As Sino US relations continue to deteriorate, the full impact of all this may become apparent.
However, the United States cannot simply resist 3GPP. This may further enhance Chinas influence.
Explaining the move, commerce secretary Wilbur Ross said: the United States will not give up its leadership in global innovation.
Looking back on the history of o-ran Alliance
In order to regain the technological initiative, some U.S. officials support openran technology, which they clearly see as an alternative to 3GPP. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has listed Huawei and ZTE as national security threats and supports openran as a potential solution.
This solution can improve the U.S. technology leadership, enhance competitiveness, and reduce our dependence on foreign suppliers, FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks said in a statement
Even if we ignore the immaturity of openran technology, these remarks seem to ignore the two main obstacles to the decoupling of American and Chinese technologies: Chinese companies are involved in the development of openran standards; in fact, openran is an accessory of 3GPP, rather than an independent system.
The former fact should be obvious to anyone who knows about openran.
The o-ran alliance was announced at mwc2018, which is mainly formed by the merger of two existing operators led associations. One of them is x-ranforum, which is dominated by American companies, of which at & T is its largest member. The other is the c-ran alliance, a Chinese organization, of which China Mobile is the biggest supporter.
Although it is certainly impossible to imagine such cooperation between China and the United States, such cooperation has embedded Chinas proprietary technology into the weapons that the US government now wants to use against China.
Picocom is a Chinese start-up and a member of the o-ran alliance. Peter Claydon, President of bicocci, said the conflict had not disappeared. Part of the irony of o-ran now is that a lot of it came from China Mobile in the first place, he said
John Baker, senior vice president of business development at openran software company mavenir, said that like 3GPP, the o-ran alliance uses a fair, reasonable and non discriminatory (frand) intellectual property licensing system. This essentially allows contributors to collect royalties under a set of accepted principles.
However, it is even more difficult to understand the ownership of o-ran technology than 3GPP technology.
One of the most important technologies of o-ran is the new interface between RF and baseband. This forward will replace the old industry specification known as CPRI, which forces operators to buy RF and baseband products from the same device manufacturer.
John Baker said the o-ran alternative solution, developed by at & T, Cisco, mavenir, Nokia, Samsung and Verizon, enables operators to use different RF and baseband suppliers. There are no Chinese manufacturers.
It is incredible, however, that the c-ran alliance has not made any recommendations.
Peter Claydon said that Chinese operators are now members of the o-ran alliance, but they lag far behind in the development of o-ran..
Fundamentally, they want to deploy o-ran. He said and pointed out that an o-ran connectivity conference is planned to be held in Beijing in September.
Most of the Chinese manufacturers in o-ran alliance are relatively small in scale and not well-known, such as bicocci. But ZTE is clearly an exception. ZTE has been a very positive contributor, according to the companys sources.
Unable to get rid of 3GPP
Even if the U.S. does have the upper hand in o-ran, it cannot avoid 3GPP or existing technologies. What o-ran essentially does is fill in gaps in which the mobile interface is either incomplete or unavailable.
When it comes to forwarding, o-ran technology takes CPRI as a starting point and fills in the missing parameters that make it impossible for the technology to be realized as an open standard.
O-ran still relies on the 3GPP process and the overall end-to-end specification to make sure everything matches and works, says John Baker
In CPRI alone, Huawei is one of the four major patent owners, and the other three are Ericsson, Nokia and NEC. NEC is a recovery force in the equipment market.
In terms of 3GPP, as operators switch from 3G to 4G and now to 5g, Chinas influence has undoubtedly increased in the past few years.
This reliance on 3GPP poses another potential problem for openran - there is a risk that openran opponents with mobile technology patents will try to use patents to block openran transactions.
In any case, the U.S. government seems to turn a blind eye to Peter Claydons irony.. Even if the United States intends to develop its own products from scratch, they will still use Chinese patents, he said
One well meaning explanation is that Americas top priority today is to dismantle Chinese equipment and cultivate American alternatives for Chinese suppliers.
To be more serious, these officials are missing out on the bigger picture.
From the perspective of the Americans and businesses Ive talked to, I dont think American politicians really understand that level of things, said Peter Claydon
Source: c114 communication network editor: Xue Jingyu_ NBJS10393