China hopes India will take ‘independent’ view on Huawei’s 5G services

BEIJING: Amid a US push for a global ban on Huawei over “security issues”, China on Thursday expressed hope that India will make an “independent and objective decision” on permitting the Chinese telecom giant to roll out its 5G services in the country.

Huawei has applied for 5G trials in India, but the government has not taken a decision on the same due to the controversy raised by the US and some of the groups in India over the Chinese telecom equipment maker.

However, the government has permitted Huawei to participate in the demonstration of 5G use cases during the three-day India Mobile Congress to be held in New Delhi from October 14.

Addressing a media briefing here, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said, “Huawei has been conducting business in India and making contributions to its local community and economy.”

“On the 5G network building, we believe the Indian side will make independent and objective decision and provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for Chinese companies,” he said.

The US has blacklisted Huawei citing security and espionage-related concerns and is now persuading its allies, including India, to block the world’s largest provider of networking gear and the second biggest smartphone maker, from their new and upcoming mobile networks.

Geng’s statement came a day ahead of the second informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping at Chennai from Friday.

On October 3, Indian telecom tycoon Sunil Bharti Mittal threw his weight behind Huawei, saying its products are “leading edge” and “superior” to rivals, and asserted that the firm “should be in play” in India.

5G is the next generation cellular technology with download speeds stated to be 10 to 100 times faster than the current 4G LTE networks.

The 5G networking standard is seen as critical because it can support the next generation of mobile devices in addition to new applications like driverless cars.

For Huawei, which has been trying to race ahead of its rivals such as Nokia, Ericsson and Samsung to become the top player in 5G, the US ban cuts it off from the American software and semiconductors it needs to make its products.

While the US hopes countries such as India will shut their doors to Huawei; for telecom services industry, it is not an easy call since switching to rivals could mean ripping out the Huawei-built 4G foundations they had planned to latch their 5G gear onto.