The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) will consult with the Home Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office and observe how governments worldwide tackle the issue before deciding on whether to allow Huawei to take part in the upcoming field trials of 5G spectrum, IANS reported, citing an official source in New Delhi. The Home Ministry and the PMO will have to be kept in the loop as Huawei poses a security issue, not a technological one, the source told IANS. The government has constituted a committee headed by the Principal Scientific Advisor to decide on Huawei’s participation in the 5G trials, the report said, and its recommendations will be sent to the Home Ministry and the PMO.
Huawei said it had been invited by the DoT to participate in the discussions on 5G trials last October, and the company recently called on India to decide quickly whether it would be allowed to participate in the development of 5G technology in the country. However, last week, IT and Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said that there were security issues around Huawei — the first such admission by the government, as per BusinessLine.
Blacklisted by US, Huawei says it has 46 5G contracts in 30 countries
Huawei has been under a cloud since the US added it to a trade blacklist in May for “engaging in activities that are contrary to US national security”. The move prevented Huawei from buying components from American companies without the government’s approval. It is part of a larger trade war between China and USA that has since snowballed into a tech war, with the US urging other countries to bar Huawei from developing their 5G networks. Wireless firm Orange has said that it will not use using Huawei products in its core 5G network in France, and Germany’s Deutsche Telekom has said that it is reviewing purchases of Huawei equipment, as per Reuters. Despite this, Huawei said it has got 46 commercial 5G contracts in 30 countries so far and has shipped more than one lakh 5G stations globally. Vodafone has said that it will turn on its 5G service in the UK on July 3 with the help of Huawei equipment.
5G auction ‘by October’ but concerns remain over spectrum pricing
— RSPrasad Office (@OfficeOfRSP) June 3, 2019
5G is one of Ravi Shankar Prasad’s key priorities, and the minister tweeted last week that the government would launch field trials of 5G technology soon. ET reported that the DoT is planning to hold the auction of 4G and 5G spectrum by October, and will follow TRAI’s recommended pricing. However, telecom industry body COAI said last week that the recommended base price of 5G radiowaves was 30-40% higher than those in markets such as the US and South Korea, and that incentives should be built in to the spectrum price. A recent report by GSMA (read a summary here) also recommended that reserve prices be set at reasonable levels to ensure long-term sustainability of the industry.