Huawei: how the telecoms giant is seen around the world

Huawei's status as a leading supplier of the backbone equipment for telecoms systems—mostly in developing markets—has given Chin
Huawei's status as a leading supplier of the backbone equipment for telecoms systems—mostly in developing markets—has given China an inside track for spearheading next-generation 5G technology

US charges against Chinese telecoms giant Huawei have cranked up tensions between the world's two biggest economies, but the company is already facing obstructions around the world over alleged cyber-security risks.

Huawei's status as a leading supplier of the backbone equipment for telecoms systems—mostly in developing markets—has given China an inside track for spearheading fifth-generation (5G) mobile technology.

5G communications are the next milestone in the digital revolution, bringing near-instantaneous connectivity, vast data capacity and futuristic technologies.

However, fears and that Chinese telecoms companies like Huawei could be proxies for Beijing's intrusive security apparatus, using the sophisticated infrastructure for espionage, a growing number of Western states turn their backs on the giant.

China has strongly defended its flagship tech group, with Foreign Minister Wang Yi denouncing on Friday an "unfair and immoral" campaign against Huawei.

Here is an overview of how Huawei is seen around the world:

The United States

Washington has slapped the strictest restrictions against Huawei, and according to American media, is strongly encouraging its allies to follow suit.

A report in October 2012 by the House Intelligence Committee found Huawei and China-based ZTE could be used to undermine the security of the US, and demanded they be excluded from public contracts.

The committee's report noted that Huawei, whose founder is a former Chinese army engineer, "did not fully cooperate with its investigation and was reluctant to explain its relations with the Chinese government".

Despite steering clear of infrastructure projects, a congressional letter issued in December 2017 said Huawei's equipment remained a "security threat" to the US.

Telecoms groups AT&T and Verizon have stopped offering Huawei smartphones in the US and in August 2018 President Donald Trump signed the military budget for 2019 which prohibited government and from using devices built by Huawei and ZTE.

Australia, New Zealand, Japan

Australian authorities banned Huawei from submitting offers for the national broadband internet programme in 2012, fearing cyber-attacks.

Timeline showing how Chinese telecom giant Huawei has been dropped from major markets in the past year
Timeline showing how Chinese telecom giant Huawei has been dropped from major markets in the past year

In the summer of 2018, Australia excluded Huawei from rolling out 5G, saying "the involvement of suppliers likely to be subject to extrajudicial decisions by a foreign government" constituted a security risk.

New Zealand followed suit in November, officially citing technological incompatibility, and Japan came next in December with a ruling aimed at avoiding "information leaks", according to the Nikkei newspaper.

Czech Republic

In mid-December, the Czech cyber-security agency warned against the use of Huawei and ZTE's software and equipment, claiming it posed a threat to national security.

"Chinese laws require private companies headquartered in China to cooperate with intelligence services," it argued.

Poland

One of Huawei's officials in Poland was arrested in mid-January by the internal security service ABW on charges of spying for Beijing.

A senior government official then said that the country had begun investigating equipment provided by Huawei to assess the risks.

Countries on alert

In Britain, where the government has expressed "serious concern", the operator Vodafone has suspended its purchases of Huawei equipment for its infrastructure in Europe. BT announced in December it would remove Huawei materials from its existing 3G and 4G networks.

Germany remains cautious, with the country's cyber-crime body (BSI) chairman saying in mid-December: "For decisions as serious as a boycott, you need evidence."

In France, where two operators use Huawei equipment in their 4G network and conduct 5G tests with it, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian last week raised "risks" regarding Huawei, and an amendment has been proposed in the senate to "ensure the safety of mobile networks" to prevent espionage or sabotage on 5G.

Norway, whose current networks are largely composed of Huawei equipment, is simply thinking of measures to "reduce (its) vulnerability".

In the midst of a full diplomatic spat with Beijing, the Canadian government told China in mid-January it would continue to mull whether or not to bar Huawei from new networks while rejecting Chinese threats of "repercussions" in the event of a ban.


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© 2019 AFP

Citation: Huawei: how the telecoms giant is seen around the world (2019, January 29) retrieved 15 October 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-01-huawei-telecoms-giant-world.html
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Jan 31, 2019
Regardless of their 'fears,' Huawei is the only company in the world that can produce all the elements of a 5G network and assemble them together at scale and cost.

Non-Huawei customers must integrate more costly, less functional, less compatible and less upgradeable elements, pay twice as much, take twice as long to implement 5G and experience inferior service.

That's because Huawei produces every element of 5G systems and assembles turnkey networks–from antennas to the power stations needed to operate them to chips, servers and handsets–at scale and cost.

It is literally unrivalled in enhanced mobile broadband.

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