The Saga Continues For Huawei

The Saga Continues For Huawei

The saga continues for Huawei, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Reliance Jio Infocomm might pass on Huawei in “core” elements of their 5G networks in favor of other companies. It is a smart move for them because of China’s blurred line between the company and the Chinese government.

Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea use Huawei and ZTE equipment for their 2G, 3G and 4G networks in certain service areas. Jio, which works with Samsung for its pan-India 4G network, is widely expected to go with the South Korean company even for 5G.

“Given how there are global security concerns regarding Huawei’s equipment, nobody wants to get caught in the crossfire. It’s better to be safe and deploy Huawei in the non-core part of the 5G network,” a senior executive at one of the telcos told ET.

It looks like everyone has the same understanding

“We don’t want to be caught in a situation where we have deployed Huawei and then a ban comes. It would be such a big gamble to do so and already, given the stress in the sector, looks like nobody is going to take that risk,” the executive said.

Both executives said the situation was dynamic and nothing had been finalized yet. They added that Airtel and Vodafone Idea would need to consider that eliminating Huawei and ZTE from a major part of the 5G contract could raise the cost of deployment to European companies like Nokia and Ericsson.

Adopting the UK Model

Unlike in previous generation technologies where most data passes through the network in unencrypted form, in the 5G standard, all communications including voice calls and text are encrypted with keys, which are stored on servers in the “core” of the network, implying they cannot be read by the base stations.

However, sceptics say the entire network cannot be safely secured as the base stations can read some elements of the data that passes through them in unencrypted form

The US is still pushing for a global ban on Huawei’s 5G product raising cyber security concerns.

The saga continues