Bloomberg News

Huawei to Open Microwave Research Center in Italy

November 17, 2011

(Corrects to remove reference to first research center outside China in story published Nov. 16.)

Nov. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Huawei Technologies Co. will open a research center in Italy as the second-biggest maker of mobile- phone networks looks to build a new base for research in microwave technology.

Huawei will open a global “competence center” near Milan tomorrow, Renato Lombardi, Huawei microwave product line vice president, said by e-mail. The center which will concentrate on research to meet demand for bandwidth amid surging data traffic, will also have marketing and sales support, he said.

Lombardy, the Italian region whose capital is Milan, “is internationally recognized as a natural ecosystem for the development of microwave technologies,” Lombardi said. “Solid investments from universities and research institutions” in the area made the region a good choice for Shenzhen, China-based Huawei, he said.

“The rapid growth of mobile broadband connections translates into higher network capacity and density needs, and the center will help finding solutions,” Lombardi said. “For the first time, our company has decided to delocalize a global structure in Italy.”

Huawei, which previously had a smaller research facility in Italy, plans to invest about 100 million euros ($135 million) by 2015 and employ more than 100 researchers at the center by the beginning of next year. Huawei’s market share in microwave solutions rose to 16 percent from 1 percent in 2008, helped by “consistent” growth in Europe, Lombardi said.

Smartphone, Tablet Users

Smartphone and tablets users are opting for more data- intensive applications to watch films and play games, causing bottlenecks in mobile broadband connections. Operators can use wireless microwave technologies to enhance mobile broadband services and improve bandwidth utilization.

“Data traffic is exploding exponentially,” Saverio Romeo, a senior analyst at Frost & Sullivan Inc. in London, said by phone. “The future will see more and more data traffic and operators having to upgrade and modernize their networks to deal with this trend. One way of doing this is by using microwave technology.”

Microwave systems can also be used with next-generation data networks such as long-term evolution, or LTE, a fourth- generation wireless technology. LTE will have “stratospheric growth” in the next few years, driven by “near-universal support” among mobile network operators, according to the IHS iSuppli Smartphones & Converged Devices Market Tracker.

--Editors: Jerrold Colten, Tom Lavell

To contact the reporter on this story: Chiara Remondini in Milan at cremondini@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net


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