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How 5G network builders are competing with Huawei in Asia

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Huawei ban: Winners, losers, and what’s at stake (a whole lot)
ZDNet’s Jason Cipriani and Jason Perlow talk with Karen Roby about how the security and trade brouhaha impacts everything from the future of regional carriers and the bottom lines of tech giants to 5G’s prospects and consumer’s pocketbooks. Read more: https://zd.net/2WzVRbq

Mobile infrastructure firms believe that over the next few years, LTE networks in Asia will be replaced with higher-capacity, lower-latency 5G networks. These 5G networks will be the new backend for applications ranging from mobile e-sports, autonomous vehicle communications, to virtually-controlled robotic surgeries.

But if companies want a piece of Asia’s developing markets, Samsung, ZTE, Nokia, Ericsson, and other equipment providers will need to compete with the low-cost offerings of Huawei.

In terms of commercial 5G deals globally, only Finland’s Nokia and Sweden’s Ericsson come close to the Shenzen-based firm. Huawei has publicly announced 40 deals compared to Nokia’s 38 and Ericsson’s 18. But Huawei spent about $15 billion on R&D in 2018, significantly more than the combined $9 billion spent by Nokia and Ericsson.

“This massive spending gives Huawei the capacity to make lower cost chips and routers,” Subramanian Venkatraman, an analyst at Arizona-based MTN Consulting, told ZDNet in an email conversation.

“This is one of the reasons European operators have been reluctant to completely ban Huawei’s kit.”

Nokia and Ericsson told ZDNet that their key to competing in Asia would be partnerships with device makers and operators, as well as their proven track records.

Also see: The winner in the war on Huawei is Samsung

Kai Sahala, head of Nokia’s Asia Pacific and Japan 5G Sales, told ZDNet that 5G spectrum availability in Asia is delaying development outside of the main Japanese, South Korean and Chinese markets, but that his firm is seeing opportunity in Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, and Singapore.

“We are competing with all of the vendors, including Huawei, in many markets, and we have been successful,” he said.

“That tells that there’s something in our position, and our 5G offering especially.”

Sahala says the firm is taking several approaches to market for countries in the Asia region.

“I don’t think these things are negotiated solely on price, [but also] quality, reliability, openness of interfaces, things like security and the platforms that we can offer,” he said.

Although he admits there have been stumbling blocks, such as the initial spotty performance and delays for the 5G network rollout in South Korea.

“In the big picture, it’s really about the long-term performance,” he said. “Performance by independent studies [of our 4G networks] is really outstanding”.

Erik Kruse, an Internet of Things Ecosystem Partner Manager at Ericsson, told ZDNet his firm was competing on 5G with cost, performance, and reliability.

Some see the recent US restrictions on Huawei, which prevents US firms from collaborating or supplying components to Huawei, as a factor for competition.

Read: Now Arm tells staff to stop working with Huawei

Multiple sources have said the restrictions have forced Huawei to place some projects as “pending” while also “slowing down” others, such as those in its server business. One said Huawei had already ordered a large amount of components in the first quarter of 2019, giving it a temporary buffer from U.S. supply chain availability issues.

But Steve Cheng, Vice President and General Manager of Taiwan’s Quanta Computer, told ZDNet that it’s difficult to compete with Huawei’s low costs, and he believes US restrictions will give other players a better chance to develop the 5G market.

Sahala said Nokia has a “neutral” position on the restrictions, as they are decided by governments, but is continuing to keep an eye on the developing situation. Kruse and a spokesperson for Ericsson, meanwhile, declined to comment on the Huawei restrictions.

Ultimately, will Huawei come out as a front-runner?

Caroline Chan, Data Center Group vice president and 5G infrastructure division general manager at Intel, told ZDNet that the US firm would comply with the US government’s order on Huawei — a “tricky situation” — but said that there’s no clear front-runner for 5G in Asia as yet.

“Everybody is realising there is a huge potential to get there,” she said. “The question is investment priority and how aggressive and courageous you are.”

Related Coverage

SoftBank goes with Ericsson and Nokia for 5G network

Japanese telco goes with Swedish and Finnish equipment manufacturers.

First 5G laptop: Lenovo and Qualcomm showcase always-on PC due in early 2020

Is this ‘Project Limitless’ 5G PC the future of computing?

Tech trade war: After Huawei, which Chinese firms are next on US enemies list?

If the cold war with China intensifies, more companies with alleged ties to the Chinese government could be prohibited from doing business with American firms.

Japan telcos pull back sale of new Huawei smartphones

Citing consumer safety concerns and uncertainty over Google’s Android support, SoftBank and KDDI have delayed the sale of new handsets from the Chinese vendor, specifically, the Huawei P30 lite, which had been slated to hit the local market on May 24.

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2023 Cadillac Escalade V-Series confirmed: What we know of this Super SUV

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Cadillac’s most lavish model is about to get a sports upgrade, with the 2023 Escalade V-Series marking the first time the SUV has worn the badge. While already notorious for its scale, luxury cabin, and general excess, the V-Series flavor of Escalade will add performance to that mix.

Source: Cadillac

Full details of the 2023 Escalade V-Series won’t be shared until spring of this year, Cadillac has warned. These newly-released photos, meanwhile, show the pre-production form of the SUV. Still, it gives us plenty to go on, as does the trajectory of the V-Series line in general.

For Cadillac, V-Series is more than just speed

You can’t accuse Cadillac of underplaying just what a V-badged model can do. “With nearly two decades of racing-inspired prowess,” the automaker promises, “the V-Series designation is reserved for vehicles that encompass the peak of Cadillac performance, bold, distinguished design, and innovative technology.”

The route from V-Series’ founding in 2003 to today has seen a few big changes along the way. Initially intended as a way for Cadillac to compete with Mercedes-AMG and BMW’s M division, it debuted with the 2004 Cadillac CTS-V sports sedan. That managed to score a role in the original Matrix movie series, (specifically The Matrix Reloaded, released in 2003), helping secure the green-light for the second-generation V Series in 2009.

Cadillac stuck with a familiar strategy: big, high-horsepower V8 engines, paired with its Magnetic Ride Control system for a sedan that could flick from luxury cruiser to track hero at the push of a button. By the time the ATS-V arrived in 2015, however, the criteria had expanded. Smaller and more affordable than the third-generation CTS-V – which got the Corvette C7’s 6.2-liter LT4 V8 to play with – the ATS-V packed a twin-turbo V6.

Beyond that, Cadillac attempted to replicate what BMW and Mercedes had achieved, expanding “V” as a broader badge to indicate a more sporting – though not necessarily the most sporting – iteration of a regular model. It tried, and abandoned, the V-Sport trim, and has most recently settled on “V” badged models as being entry-level performance options. The CT5-V and CT4-V are the current examples of that.

Source: DW Burnett / Cadillac

Meanwhile, a new Blackwing designation flags the most extreme examples of V-Series performance. Initially referring to Cadillac’s new Blackwing engine, but since expanded, the trim has so far appeared on the CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing, each produced in limited number.

What we expect from the 2023 Cadillac Escalade V-Series

For the 2023 Escalade V-Series, the expectation is an evolution in performance rather than the outright leap that Blackwing badging would indicate. The current Escalade – now in its fifth-generation – already features a V8 engine as standard. That’s 6.2-liters in size and offers 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. A 10-speed automatic is standard.

2023 Cadillac Escalade V-Series

Source: Cadillac

They’re not small numbers, but then again the Escalade is not a small SUV. One possibility for an upgrade is the V8 from the CT5-V Blackwing, supercharged and with upwards of 600 horsepower on tap. Cadillac would obviously need to upgrade other components such as the brakes to balance that uptick in power, though Magnetic Ride suspension is already available on the SUV in its current form.

2023 Cadillac Escalade V-Series

Source: Cadillac

To better distinguish the V-Series truck visually, Cadillac has given it a moody makeover. The grille switches to black mesh, and most of the chrome has been deleted in favor of gloss-black trim. The bumpers front and rear, and the side sills, have been tweaked, and of course there are vast blacked-out wheels, too.

2023 Cadillac Escalade V-Series

Source: Cadillac

For the inside, Cadillac is playing it even more coy. A single image previews the “V” badging on the steering wheel, though we’d expect a fair amount of carbon fiber and Alcantara to feature, based on the other V-Series cars. The Escalade already offers a huge, curved dashboard display and plenty of space across three rows, not to mention a whole host of toys to play with.

2023 Cadillac Escalade V-Series

Source: Cadillac

As for 2023 Escalade V-Series pricing, there too Cadillac is saving full details. The current model spirals up to over $109k for the standard-length 4WD Sport Platinum trim, and that’s before you head into the options list. A six-figure V-Series is basically guaranteed, then, as Cadillac takes on well-esteemed (and well-equipped) performance SUVs from its German rivals.

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Brabus 800 Adventure XLP Superblack is taking it to the extreme

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Renowned Mercedes-Benz tuning house Brabus has unleashed its latest creation based on the Mercedes-AMG G63 sport-luxury SUV. It’s the newest variant of the 800 Adventure XLP Superblack, a go-anywhere pickup truck hiding a mighty powerful V8 engine under the hood.

Images: Brabus GmbH
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This Airstream eStream concept is an electric camper with an innovative twist

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Thor Industries, maker of the Airstream and other popular RVs, recently unveiled the eStream electric camper concept. It’s essentially a hi-tech Airstream travel trailer with some nifty innovations hiding underneath.

Images: Thor Industries
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