Chinese communications company, Huawei, will this year invest N$53 billion from its annual revenue towards research and development in Information Communication Technology (ICT) tailored solutions for Namibia and other markets.
The company has established 16 research centres in the United States, Europe, Russia and the East.
Globally, Huawei continues to grow steadily with global sales revenue in 2014 expected to reach CNY 289 billion (NAD 534 billion), an increase of nearly 20% year-on-year.
Huawei has, so far, become a strategic partner with major telecommunications operators in Namibia, and a major supplier for the country’s fixed and mobile network, serving Namibians with voice communication, high-speed internet and digital television programs.
Managing Director for Huawei Namibia Office, Wallace Yin, said it will continue to roll-out more ICT products in Namibia, ranging from tablets, smartphones and routers as part of the company’s strategy to focus on selling more higher-end products, as it prepares for increased competition from low-cost Chinese vendors.
In the offing for Namibia are two innovations the company has invested time and money in recently namely the Lampsite, basically a small cell, or indoor coverage solution and carrier aggregation, a technology that makes true 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) Advanced speeds possible.
“Lampsite has been successfully deployed globally and will be deployed in South Africa and Namibia soon, and as for carrier aggregation, some of South Africa’s telecommunications have successfully tested the technology,” Yin said.
LTE technology bears advantages ranging from high data rates and quality of service, lower complexity and continuity of 3G competitiveness for the future.
Yin said Huawei has submitted 546 proposals for LTE core standards to 3GPP, accounting for nearly 25% of the world’s total.
He said that this yearly investment practice has led to the company’s stable business growth annually, not only in Namibia but on a global scale.
“Huawei pays heavy attention to innovation by investing over 10% of its annual revenue to research and development,” said Yin.
“Our localized operations will enable us to contribute to socioeconomic development by creating jobs and paying taxes in the countries and regions where we operate. We don’t break down our revenue by country,” he said, adding that the company is an innovative enabler for the information society, and a collaborative industry contributor to Namibia.
Huawei has cumulatively invested CNY 188 billion in research and development over the last ten years. Yin noted that there is a huge gap between Africa and the developed regions in terms of ICT infrastructure, as the economy in Africa is undeveloped.
“Many people in Africa still have no access to broadband network, or even voice service in Africa, especially people in rural areas, although the demand in such area is quite large. The investment in ICT industry is not enough to help Namibian people get connected,” he said.
The company pointed out that to bridge the digital divide and help people in Namibia and Southern Africa to obtain access to network service is a huge challenge faced by both government and ICT providers like Huawei.
“It’s very important for government and private sector players to pay more attention to the ICT investment and figure out how we can collaborate with each other to build a better connected world that everyone can enjoy the stable and fast network service, and use the network to drive socio-economic growth,” Yin said.
XDIT Namibia Country Manager Gert Brits concurs that government support for ICT investment projects is an imperative to drive the industry forward.
“XDIT Namibia firmly believes that the IT Policy for Free WIFI connectivity must be changed soonest. Namibia prides itself as one of Africa’s leader in technologies, as we have had 4G connections before South Africa had it, just to name an example,” he said adding that Telecom Namibia has the capacity and technology to support this vision, and with the backing of the government, this can be achieved.