Huawei and ZTE excluded from 5G trials in India: Report

Nokia, Ericsson, Cisco, and Samsung have been invited to take part in 5G trials with carriers across India, according to a report, while Huawei and ZTE have not.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Chinese networking vendors Huawei and ZTE have been excluded from taking part in trialling 5G in India, according to a report.

India's Department of Telecommunications has given the nod to Ericsson -- which launched a 5G innovation lab in India in July -- as well as Nokia, Samsung, and Cisco to work with the government in trialling 5G use cases across India, an article by ET Telecom said, with Huawei and ZTE excluded from this list.

"We have written to Cisco, Samsung, Ericsson, and Nokia, and telecom service providers to partner with us to start 5G technology-based trials, and have got positive response from them," telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan reportedly told ET Telecom.

"We have excluded Huawei from these trials."

According to ET Telecom, Huawei said it is in contact with the Indian government over any security concerns.

The report follows Huawei and ZTE being banned last month by the Australian government from playing a role in any 5G rollouts due to national security issues stemming from concerns of foreign government interference in critical communications infrastructure.

Huawei slammed the Australian government's decision, saying it is not based in fact or a result of a transparent process, but rather motivated by last month's political instability thanks to infighting in the Liberal party.

"The Australian government's decision to block Huawei from Australia's 5G market is politically motivated, not the result of a fact-based, transparent, or equitable decision-making process. It is not aligned with the long-term interests of the Australian people, and denies Australian businesses and consumers the right to choose from the best communications technology available," Huawei HQ said.

Huawei added that speculation about national security concerns and the operation of Chinese law have also not been investigated properly.

"Interpreting Chinese law should be left to qualified and impartial legal experts. Huawei has presented the Australian government with an independent, third-party expert analysis of the Chinese laws in question: Chinese law does not grant government the authority to compel telecommunications firms to install backdoors or listening devices, or engage in any behaviour that might compromise the telecommunications equipment of other nations," Huawei said.

"A mistaken and narrow understanding of Chinese law should not serve as the basis for concerns about Huawei's business. Huawei has never been asked to engage in intelligence work on behalf of any government.

"The Australian government's actions undermine the principles of competition and non-discrimination in fair trade."

Read more: Paranoia will destroy us: Why Chinese tech isn't spying on us

Australia cited its Telecommunications Sector Security Reforms (TSSR) introduced last year, saying the government must "take necessary steps to safeguard the security of Australians' information and communications at all times".

The TSSR laws, introduced by former Attorney-General George Brandis to Parliament in November 2016, force carriers to "do their best" to protect their networks from unauthorised access or interference for the purpose of security, with carriers to notify the Attorney-General's Department (AGD) of any changes to their services, systems, or equipment that could have a "material adverse effect" on their ability to comply with this duty.

Over in the United States, President Donald Trump's administration has been cracking down on Chinese involvement in the American tech sphere, including with draft legislation barring the sale of national security-sensitive technology to China and blocking government or contractors from buying telecommunications equipment and services from Huawei and ZTE.

Huawei in July told the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that the US should not miss out on its market-leading technology, also pointing out that its exclusion would drive up consumer costs for mobile services.

The heads of the CIA, FBI, NSA, and the director of national intelligence to the Senate Intelligence Committee had also recommended in February that Americans not use products from Huawei and ZTE, while the FCC was also advised by the Executive Branch to deny China Mobile entry to the US telecommunications industry, citing "substantial and unacceptable risk to US law enforcement and foreign intelligence collection".

Last week, South Korea's largest carrier also announced that its 5G vendors would be Ericsson, Nokia, and Samsung, with Huawei left off its list.

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