The US government has again intensified its efforts to pressure allies and friendly countries to bar Chinese telecom gear maker Huawei. Now, a top US cyber diplomat has urged global telecom carriers to follow India’s Reliance Jio’s strategy to use only “trusted vendors” in their 5G deployments, besides exploring developing home-grown 5G solutions.
The US government has also listed the Mukesh Ambani-led telecom operator among global telcos that are becoming “clean telcos”,
“With regard to Reliance Jio, we’re pleased to hear that they’re using trusted vendors. There’s nothing mystical about 5G technology. It has the same types of components that 4G technology has; it’s just evolved to another level. So there’s ways that the indigenous production could occur in India,” said Robert L. Strayer, deputy assistant secretary for cyber and international communications and information policy, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, Department of State.
The US is deepening its trade relationship with India in the digital era and there is a “flourishing of collaboration and innovation” for both hardware components and software, the official said during a foreign press briefing at the New York Foreign press center.
The US State Department, separately in a statement, said, “Some of the largest telecom companies around the globe are also becoming ”Clean Telcos.” Orange in France, Jio in India, Telstra in Australia, SK and KT in South Korea, NTT in Japan, and O2 in the United Kingdom are rejecting doing business with tools of the Chinese Communist Party’s surveillance state, like Huawei.”
“I encourage all countries to secure their communication networks by prohibiting untrusted vendors, thereby increasing the attractiveness of their digital infrastructure to outside investment. Investors are more inclined to invest in countries that are secure from interference or disruption by vendors that could be subject to the control of authoritarian regimes,” Strayer said.
The comments follow Jio’s claim that it has developed its own 5G technology that will allow it to launch the high-speed internet service in the country.
RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani last week said that the company intends to offer its home-grown 5G technology to other telecom companies, a move that will pit it against the likes of traditional telecom gear vendors like Nokia, Ericsson, Huawei and Samsung.
“This Made-in-India 5G solution will be ready for trials as soon as 5G spectrum is available and can be ready for field deployment next year,” Ambani said during the company’s annual general meeting on last Wednesday.
Jio has written to India’s telecom department to release spectrum in the mm-wave band to pilot its own 5G technology in the country before it’s available for commercial deployment.
India has already barred Huawei and ZTE from supplying 4G telecom equipment to state-run telcos BSNL and MTNL.
According to local media reports, the Indian government is discouraging private telecom operators like Airtel and Vodafone Idea to source their telecom equipment from these Chinese vendors.