“Don’t think Huawei will be blocked in India”: Huawei global executive

Huawei India trusted
Image by PavelMuravev | Bigstockphoto

China’s Huawei is confident of making it to India’s list of trusted telecom equipment vendors, which is being created by the country’s highest cybersecurity office, the National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSC).

The NCSC, a “Designated Authority”, will notify a list of sources or equipment makers from whom “no procurement” can be done by the Indian telecom operators. Telcos will also be notified of the vendors from whom they can procure equipment.

“We think about what is logic [behind it] and what is possible. We don’t think Huawei will be blocked. We think this [trusted list] benefits the Indian market and is the right decision,” Jay Chen, Vice President of Huawei Asia Pacific told the media after the launch of the vendor’s 2020 annual report. “India is very important not just for 5G but as a whole market.”

During the media roundtable, Chen said that the vendor is confident that the Indian government will make the right decision. “…we work closely with customers and the government. We believe the Indian government will make the right decision which will benefit the country.”

He also claimed that Huawei has a clean record in India and has maintained a very good relationship with the Indian government. “India will welcome Huawei…we have the confidence.”

India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on Wednesday amended the telecom licenses to mandate the use of equipment only from “trusted sources” from June 15, 2021. The move is expected to impact both Huawei and ZTE, as per media reports.

Huawei, however, is already exploring a joint venture with an Indian company to transfer key telecom technologies for local manufacturing of 5G gear and to assuage the Indian government’s security-related concerns.

The Chinese telecom gear maker’s local CEO, David Li, recently urged the Indian government to provide a level-playing field and said that the uncertainty around its participation in 5G networks will impact the country’s 5G rollout.

Huawei has been present in India for over two decades and is a major supplier to Vodafone Idea, which has already said that it will continue to give new business to Huawei and ZTE for radio and transport network expansion.

“We entered this market almost 20 years back and we have full operation and functions. We have an international business centre, called network service centre, which serves global customers in many countries,” Chen told the media.

The Chinese vendor is also willing to participate in the country’s upcoming 5G networks, having already submitted 5G trial applications with Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio.

The National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSC), however, has already finalized the criteria for identifying trusted sources and products, and conveyed to the telcos. The DoT on Wednesday asked Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea to appoint a nodal officer who will interact with the NCSC and share information on a “designated portal”.

The telecom department said that the NCSCwill be coming up with a portal and all operators will have to  share information about the company, the products they intend to connect to the network, details of the original equipment manufacturer amongst others. These details will help NCSC  to evaluate if the manufacturer falls under the ‘Trusted Product’ category.

Chen, who was previously spearheading Huawei’s India operations, also said that the vendor will continue to focus on its smartphone and ecosystem business in the Asia Pacific region, including India.

“We are trying to maintain our leading position in the market. We will launch flagship smartphones but challenges will be there…we will not be as good as before. Under our 1+ 8 strategy, we have wearables, smart TVs, watches and laptops…there is a huge requirement. There is a big opportunity. Our Asia Pacific strategy is very clear,” he informed the media.

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