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More European countries keep doors open to Huawei's 5G tech

By Ma Si | China Daily | Updated: 2019-11-28 07:57
Models display Huawei P30 Series smartphones during the new product launch event in Paris, France, earlier this year. [Photo provided to China Daily]

An increasing number of European countries are taking an unbiased approach toward the use of Huawei Technologies Co's technologies in their 5G network rollout, despite the US government's efforts to persuade them into banning the Chinese company.

French Junior Economy Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher recently said in an interview with local media that France will not follow the United States and exclude China's Huawei from its next-generation 5G network.

On Sunday, German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier also defended the decision not to ban Huawei from participation in Germany's 5G network in a debate.

Altmaier said: "The US also requires its companies to provide certain information needed to fight terrorism."

"We didn't boycott them," he said when commenting on the alleged cybersecurity risks associated with Huawei's telecom equipment.

The US ambassador to Germany complained to such a comparison, saying that there is no moral equivalency between China and the United States.

In responses to the comment, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said some US politicians and officials always attack and discredit China. Their poor performance fully exposed their unspeakable sinister intentions and political attempts.

Germany announced in October that it would not single out any telecom player, including Huawei, in its 5G build-out. German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said at a news conference earlier this year that "we are not taking a preemptive decision to ban any actor, or any company".

The objective attitude toward Huawei came as the world is at the tipping point for large-scale 5G network rollout. According to the global telecom industry association GSMA, there will be 60 5G commercial networks by the end of this year, up from the 40 commercial 5G networks in more than 20 countries and regions as of October.

Next year, more aggressive steps will be seen around the world to accelerate the rollout of new-generation wireless technology, according to Si Han, president of GSMA Greater China.

Europe, which is seen by Ren Zhengfei, founder of Huawei, as the second home of the company, will also see more 5G commercial networks running in 2020. As its largest overseas market, Europe has many telecom operators that purchase Huawei's products. At the same time, Europe is where most of the US government's allies are located and Washington is intensifying push to dissuade them from including Huawei on 5G plans.

Such a complex situation puts all eyes on Europe to see how it will act on 5G amid uncertainties.

Bai Ming, a senior research fellow with the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said some foreign countries may doubt or distrust Chinese technologies simply because they are from China.

But mixing politics with normal business cooperation will delay the rollout of the superfast wireless technology in the world, Bai said.

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