India is all set to give 5G spectrum trials to China’s Huawei, which means India will allow all equipment suppliers including China’s Huawei to participate in 5G trials. It will encourage Chinese companies to play a vital role in the deployment of next-generation technology in India.
According to telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, India will allow all vendors and operators during 5G trials. He said, “5G trials will be done with all vendors and operators.” The minister further said, “We have taken an in-principle decision to give 5G spectrum for trials.” On being asked specifically about Huawei, Prasad said that at this stage, all vendors are invited.
On the other hand, the US has warned India over using Huawei’s 5G equipment. The US asked India not to allow Chinese company Huawei to take part in 5G trials. The US has also pressed its allies to stop Huawei from providing equipment for 5G networks. Wilbur Ross, the US commerce secretary, said: “Anybody who thinks we are doing this for protectionism simply doesn’t know the facts. We hope that our geopolitical partner India does not inadvertently subject itself to untoward security risk.”
This is the first time India has decided to allow Chinese company Huawei to participate in 5G trials despite US warning. The pressure comes at a time when India is looking forward to allowing the Chinese company to participate in the rollout of high-speed data networks ahead of an auction of the telecoms spectrum.
The 5G trials are most likely to begin in the last quarter of the current financial year. It is believed that all operators and vendors including Nokia, Ericsson, Huawei, ZTE and Samsung are expected to participate.
Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman of Bharti Enterprises, criticized Mr Ross’s comments. “The US advisory is well taken from our point of view,” Mr. Mittal said. “But Indians will have to decide for themselves, given their relationship with China and the larger context.”