A Huawei retail store in Beijing. (Photo: AP)
A Huawei retail store in Beijing. (Photo: AP)

Huawei says 5G roll-out in India will be delayed by 3 years if it’s banned

  • Firm is battling intense pressure from US, which is pushing allies to keep it out of 5G telecom networks
  • huawei has won over 50 commercial 5G contracts around the world, says CMO Ritchie Peng

Chengdu: Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd, which is under scrutiny worldwide over network security concerns, believes that banning the company in India will delay the roll-out of 5G services in the country by two to three years.

The Chinese telecom equipment maker is battling intense pressure from the US, which is pushing allies to keep the company out of 5G telecom networks because of the suspicion that the Chinese government used the company for spying.

“European operators have said (in interviews to media) that without Huawei’s 5G technology, the 5G roll-out will be postponed by two to three years. We hold the same expectation for the India market, as we will use our fast 5G technology to meet the needs of Indian operators and consumers because now we shall focus on how we can use our best technology to serve their needs," Ritchie Peng, chief marketing officer, wireless network product line, Huawei, said on Tuesday.

5G is the next-generation technology for wireless communications that is expected to exponentially improve data speed and power the Internet of Things.

“Around the world, Huawei has already secured more than 50 commercial 5G contracts, which shows that these customers from around the world believe that Huawei’s 5G is secure," Peng said at the company’s Asia-Pacific Innovation Day.

Out of these 50 contracts, 28 are in Europe, 11 in the Middle East, six in Asia-Pacific, four in South America, and one in Africa.

India, the world’s second largest mobile services market, plans to auction 5G airwaves this year. However, the government is yet to decide on allowing Huawei in the 5G trials and roll-outs.

The country is a crucial market for Huawei, which has deployed 4G networks for Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea.

In June, the firm said it is willing to sign a “no-back door" pact with the Indian government to assuage potential security concerns.

A back door is a point of access in a network/equipment that enables entry under exceptional circumstances. In its absence, the equipment supplier would not be able to access the customer’s network without consent.

Since last year, the US has constantly urged its allies to ban Huawei from 5G roll-outs because of the spying suspicions involving the company. Huawei, however, has always denied the allegation.

Australia and Japan have barred Huawei, while Canada and New Zealand are likely to follow suit. Many countries in Europe are still to take a decision. However, Russia, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia have welcomed Huawei.

India recently invited applications from entities seeking experimental 5G spectrum for trials for a one-year period and a nominal fee of 5,000. India has, however, not stated explicitly whether or not it will allow Huawei to participate in the trials as it awaits a recommendation from a special committee examining security risks that could arise out of Huawei’s presence in the 5G networks.

Huawei, meanwhile, has called for a collaborative mindset. “No single enterprise can remove itself from the industry supply chain. For a product or service to become advanced, it requires global cooperation," said William Xu, director of the board, and president of the Institute of Strategic Research, Huawei.

“Huawei is a key player. Indian telcos are already working with them for 4G. If you take the company out of the supply chain now, it would potentially have cost implications, and could lead to a disruption in services. There could certainly be a delay in roll-out, though we cannot put an exact time on that," Prabhu Ram, head- industry intelligence group, Cyber Media Research, said.

The writer is in Chengdu at the invitation of Huawei.

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