US explores 5G possibilities in Middle East and Europe

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
  • Follow author on
Representational Image

The US is intensifying its fight against the Chinese telecom maker Huawei by sending out a US official on an official tour of 16 nations in the Middle East and Europe.

Keith Krach, US Under-Secretary of State for Economic Development, Energy and Climate said the US is determined to support 5G security and its Clean Network policy by swiping Huawei and its Chinese counterpart ZTE.

According to the US state department, the Clean Network Initiative is “the Trump Administration’s comprehensive approach to safeguarding the nation’s assets including citizens’ privacy and companies’ most sensitive information from aggressive intrusions by malign actors, such as the Chinese Communist Party”. US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo rolled it out in August.

Keith Krach
Keith Krach
US Under Secretary
Economic Growth, Energy
& the Environment

“This programme addresses the long-term threat to data privacy, security and human rights … it is rooted in internationally accepted digital trust standards and built on a coalition of trusted partners and based on rapidly changing technology and economics of global markets. The Clean Network programme fits well with the UAE’s vision of “secure and forward-looking economy. It [the programme] is critical for the UAE to drive private sector investment from the US and other nations. The momentum is growing and more members are adding. We want to ensure that [companies’] confidential data, proprietary technology and intellectual property rights are protected”.

Over 45 countries, 70 telecommunications companies and firms such as Fujitsu, Telefonica, Taiwan Mobile, Softbank, VMWare and Reliance Jio have expanded their program support, Mr. Krach added.

“At the start of the year, Huawei had around 90 5G contracts but slowly its deals with telecoms operators around the world are evaporating … countries are only allowing trusted vendors in their 5G networks,” he further said.

Washington is aggressively influencing its associates to exclude Huawei’s equipment from their core 5G networks. The China-based company has already been hit by US trade sanctions that affect its global smartphone business as well.

Huawei has consistently denied links to the Chinese government, saying that it is “a private company owned solely by our employees. No third parties hold any shares in the company, and that includes the Chinese government”.

It also rejects claims of misuse of intellectual property, saying it has more than 85,000 information technology and communications patents.

“Since 2001, Huawei has paid more than $6 billion to license IP from third parties, 80 percent of which was paid to US companies,” it stated.

Five major manufacturers, Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia, ZTE and Samsung, are currently supplying 5G radio network equipment such as base stations of core networks to telecom operators worldwide.

A 5G network offers up to 1.2 gigabits per second of broadband speed which will eventually hit 10Gbps which is more than 100 times faster than 4G.

According to US-based management consulting firm McKinsey, the initial installation of 5G will cover 25 percent of the world’s population by 2030 or about 2 billion people, at a cost of $700 billion to $900 billion. The consultancy forecasts that coverage would be primarily based on affluent and developed areas in the US, Europe and China.

The United States sees the Emirates as a viable destination for investments in 5G that will form the basis of potential economies and public services.

According to Mr. Krach, the signing of the historic Abraham Accord to normalize relations with Israel is a step towards a secure, stable and prosperous country.

“The UAE is a perfect global hub for companies looking forward to expanding. It is the real crossroads of the world and has a tremendous infrastructure and great human capital,” said Mr. Krach.