Huawei gets a green light from India for 5G trials

Posted at 10:56 PM, Dec 30, 2019

(CNN) — Huawei officially has a shot at helping the world’s second-largest internet market build its 5G network.

India will not exclude the embattled Chinese company from the country’s forthcoming 5G trials, a senior government official confirmed Monday.

“We have taken a decision to give 5G [bandwidth] for trial to all the players,” Ravi Shankar Prasad, the country’s minister for technology and communications, said at an event in New Delhi.

The green light from India will serve as a welcome reprieve for Huawei as it battles a US-led campaign against its business.

Washington has alleged that Beijing could use Huawei products to spy on other nations, with the US government urging global allies to block the Chinese firm’s products from their 5G networks. Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker and a leading smartphone brand, denies that its products pose a national security risk.

“We thank the Indian government for their continued faith in Huawei,” the company’s India CEO Jay Chen said in a statement. “We firmly believe that only technology innovations and high quality networks will be the key to rejuvenating the Indian telecom industry,” he added.

India, with more than 600 million internet users — second only to China — has been a notable holdout when it comes to blocking Huawei. While the Indian government had not previously announced a decision on Huawei’s participation in its 5G networks, the Chinese firm has said it has not faced any barriers in the country and even got a ringing endorsement from one of the country’s top telecom executives recently.

“With all my engagements with the Indian government, nobody has told me that you have a problem,” Chen told reporters in February.

Huawei’s global business has expanded this year despite the US campaign. The company says it has signed more than 50 5G contracts around the world.

Getting approval for India’s trials, which are expected to begin in January 2020, is Huawei’s second big win in recent weeks. Earlier this month, one of Germany’s biggest mobile carriers announced that it would use the Chinese company’s equipment in its 5G networks.