Abstract : As the United States continues to wield bans and sanctions to lock Huawei out of the global 5G market and coerce its allies into doing the same, Huawei has seen its 5G business in several European markets sabotaged in recent months, despite the company's ongoing presence in parts of the continent.
by Xinhua Writer Liu Fang
PARIS, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) — As the United States continues to wield bans and sanctions to lock Huawei out of the global 5G market and coerce its allies into doing the same, Huawei has seen its 5G business in several European markets sabotaged in recent months, despite the company’s ongoing presence in parts of the continent.
IMPACT FROM WASHINGTON
Britain has decided to remove all Huawei equipment from its 5G networks by 2027. On Nov. 30, the British government said British telecommunications firms must not install new Huawei 5G kits after September 2021.
This decision “does not serve anyone’s best interests as it would move Britain into the digital slow lane and put at risk the Government’s levelling up agenda,” said Huawei UK in a statement.
In October, Sweden said all equipment of Huawei and ZTE, another Chinese company, must be removed from its 5G networks by 2025, a decision appealed by Huawei and now partially reversed by an administrative court.
A ban on Huawei would put a major damper on Europe’s 5G ambitions, potentially causing multi-year setbacks and letting the United States decide what technology is available and who can use it, and Europe will not achieve its strategic autonomy, said Abraham Liu, Huawei’s chief representative to the European Union (EU) Institutions.
“Doing so may negatively impact local firms and cause Europe to lag behind the Asian or North American markets technologically, in terms of new opportunities generated by 5G innovation,” Leon Laulusa, executive vice president of ESCP Business School told Xinhua.
EUROPE WILL NOT RULE OUT HUAWEI
Laulusa noted that not all European countries followed suit when the United States asked them to evict Huawei. Data collected by Xinhua also showed that Huawei still has a strong presence in the European 5G market.
In Spain, one of the first countries in Europe to have commercial 5G services, British telecommunications group Vodafone’s 5G network now covers 21 major cities, 16 of them with Huawei base stations. Earlier in September, French mobile network provider Orange announced the roll-out of commercial 5G services in five big cities, three of them using Huawei equipment.
In Germany, three major telecommunication operators — Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica — have been actively promoting 5G networks in recent years, using a large number of Huawei devices.
Norway’s largest mobile operator Telenor said it would continue working with Huawei for its 5G networks and the Chinese company would be fully-involved in the process.
Finland, which opened one of the largest 5G networks in Europe last December, also expressed no intention of banning Huawei.
In Eastern Europe, Bulgaria’s Vivacom established 5G services in 27 cities in September, with its wireless networks provided by Huawei.
Serbia is cooperating with Huawei beyond 5G networks. Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said her country would work with Huawei on the introduction of artificial intelligence, digitalization of education and introduction of smart cities across the country, when Huawei opened an Innovations and Development Center in Belgrade on Sept. 14.
“Europe tries to find a middle way,” said David Haber, a French economist at Israel’s University of Haifa. “It does not wish to antagonize America, but wants to keep its autonomy on economic decisions. It will not rule out Huawei, but try to carefully select some equipment and avoid others,”
COMMITTED TO DIGITALIZATION IN EUROPE
In France, Huawei is now working with two French telecoms operators to build 5G networks. “We are ready to accompany them to launch 5G services based on their calendar,” Shi Weiliang, head of Huawei France, told Xinhua.
“We believe 5G will bring new vitality to the French economy and society, we are ready to contribute to the local ecosystem by using our leading technologies and cooperating with our partners,” he said.
Earlier in October, Huawei opened a new R&D center in Paris, its sixth one in France. “France is our long-term partner. We always pursue ‘In France, for France’,” said Shi.
In Poland, Huawei has contributed to the country’s high penetration rate for mobile internet and during the process created over 3,000 high-end jobs, according to CEO of Huawei Poland Tonny Bao.
An Oxford Economics report released recently showed that Huawei has contributed 16.4 billion euros (19.8 billion U.S. dollars) to Europe’s GDP and supported 224,300 jobs in 2019. The company also generated 6.6 billion euros in tax revenues for European authorities the same year.
For Laulusa, Huawei, like Schneider and Siemens in China years ago, is aiming to transform itself from a Chinese company in Europe into a local one, employing local talent and resources.
“Huawei is using its significant contribution to the national and European economy as leverage, arguing that both sides would be winning by allowing the company to remain in Europe,” he said.
“NOT TO BE USED AS POLITICAL FOOTBALL”
Regarding the security concerns of some countries, Huawei told Xinhua that the U.S. accusations are groundless and Huawei accepts any form of network security technology assessment and verification, not limited to hardware, software, or even source code detection.
Earlier this year, Huawei opened a Cybersecurity Transparency Centre in Brussels to showcase its end-to-end cyber security practices.
“Huawei has undergone the most rigorous of testing of cyber security within the IT industry. Organizations such as the BSI in Germany, SERTIT in Norway and CCN in Spain have completed independent assessment and issued certification of our products. In addition, Huawei’s devices have been tested at the source level by the Cyber Security Assessment Center in the UK for 10 consecutive years. Their reports make it clear that Huawei does not have a back door,” Huawei Poland CEO Bao said.
The head of Huawei France said that Huawei products have obtained more than 270 cyber security and user privacy protection certificates issued by authoritative independent third-parties.
In France, based on the guidelines of the French National Cybersecurity Agency (ANSSI), Huawei has launched a complete campaign of test on its 5G products, collaborating with Thales-Cesti, which is specialized in security evaluation.
“The result is very satisfied, showing that Huawei’s 5G products have very good security system. We will continue collaborating with ANSSI in order to satisfy all necessary security check,” said Shi.
“We believe security is too important to be used as a political football,” said Huawei’s chief representative to the EU Institutions.
“We’ve been complying with EU legislation for the past 20 years, throughout which we had been trusted by partners & governments alike to build substantial parts of the network, without a single major security breach,” tweeted Abraham Liu “We are looking forward to continuously doing so.” Enditem
(Zhang Jiawei in London, Feng Junwei in Madrid, Zhang Yirong and Ren ke in Berlin, Chen Xu in Warsaw, Fu Yiming in Stockholm, Shi Zhongyu in Belgrade, Sun Yifei in Sofia and Yang Xiaohong in Prague contributed to the report.)
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Source: Xinhua Headlines: How can Huawei-Europe 5G cooperation break through politically-motivated restrictions