Huawei Australia appoints new CTO

Huawei has appointed former Nokia head of 5G Technology Dr David Soldani as its CTO for Australia.

Huawei Australia has announced appointing a new CTO for its local operations, choosing to go with "5G expert" Dr David Soldani, who will assist the Australian branch as the industry "prepares for the future rollout of 5G technology".

Soldani most recently headed up Nokia's 5G Technology business, after serving for eight years at Huawei's European Research Centre in Germany, along with head of IP Transformation Research Centre (IPTRC), head of Network Solution R&D, head of Central Research Institute (CRI), and VP of Strategic Research and Innovation in Europe.

Soldani also holds "several international patents", Huawei said, along with having published papers and books.

"David is an authority on the development of wireless technologies and will be invaluable for Australian carriers, businesses, and governments seeking to understand the impact of this future technology," Huawei Australia CEO George Huang said.

Huang was appointed as Huawei Australia CEO in January, amid a move to push 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) projects locally.

"With extensive experience across a range of diverse markets, the board is confident George will drive further success in Australia," Huawei Australia chairman John Lord said at the time.

"George will be focused on highlighting Huawei's global 5G and IoT leadership in the local marketplace, growing the Enterprise business in the mining, transport, and other industry sectors, and elevating the Huawei consumer device brand."

Speaking to ZDNet last month, Huang praised the Australian government's 5G Working Group, saying the Chinese networking giant is having "closer and closer communication with the government".

"I do see the government as also more and more open to discuss with industry, the vendors," Huang said.

"The government set up a 5G working group last year, I think that's a very good initiative because you know 5G is not only a product or a technology, it is an ecosystem. It really requires the vendors, the customers, operators, industries to work together to make that happen.

"So I do see a very good initiative from the government, and Huawei are also very happy to work with the government. We are quite open to discuss anything with the government."

Huang told ZDNet that Huawei will be pushing into "many industries" in Australia to enable their digital transformation, including mining, oil, gas, agriculture, and transportation.

"For the customer perspective, especially for enterprise, most of the companies are in the era of transformation, transforming from their traditional way to a digital way, so we see this is a common chain in all industries. So Huawei is really -- we can help them to make this transformation happen," he said.

He also pointed towards Huawei's newly launched 5G customer premises equipment (CPE), saying he sees "potential" for this to be used in Australian networks.

"I want to try to continue to help our operators buy the new technologies that are coming -- 5G and before 5G, 4.5G -- to provide the better-quality equipment to our customers, better services to our customers," he added.

"For enterprise, this is definitely one of my focuses: I want to bring more and more products to the existing customers in mining, oil, and gas, and also explore more verticals to use our technologies, like managing agriculture, transportation."

Huawei's Australian business last year recorded AU$19.5 million in pre-tax profit, marginally higher than in 2015, but its profit after tax fell from AU$14.1 million to AU$12.1 million due mainly to higher expenses across income tax, distribution, and administration. Its income tax expenses rose from AU$4.5 million to AU$7.5 million between 2015 and 2016.

Revenue for the calendar year was AU$673.3 million, up by 5 percent year on year.

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