Huawei continues 5G expansion in Europe with over 25 contracts secured
Wednesday, 24 July 2019
Earlier this year in March, Huawei opened a cyber security center in Brussels, as part of its efforts to improve transparency, research and compliance with cybersecurity regulation.
During a visit to Brussels last Thursday, Huawei board member and Senior Vice President Catherine Chen said that the telecom company has so far signed over 50 5G commercial contracts across the world. 28 of these were signed in Europe.
Ms. Chen answered questions by Brussels based press at a media roundtable, and emphasised that the company supports the European approach to cybersecurity and remains committed to working with the EU institutions as well as telecom operators to ensure full compliance and transparency.
While the 28 contracts in Europe have been signed, Ms. Chen added that it is up to the operators themselves to define a timeline as to when and how the 5G services will be concretely offered to customers.
With global 5G standards, networks, consumer devices, and applications all ready, 5G commercialization is now beginning to accelerate, and earlier this year, Switzerland became the first country in Europe to offer its customers concrete and comprehensive 5G solutions following a partnership between Swiss telecom operator Sunrise and Huawei.
As the battle for the lucrative business continues, Huawei remains the global market leader with 50 secured 5G contracts so far around the world, compared to 42 by second player Nokia. The company has also already deployed 150,000 5G base stations, and expects this number to reach 500,000 by the end of the year.
Addressing questions on cybersecurity, Ms. Chen stated that she believes the debate has been more logical and constructive in Europe compared to the US, and that she believes that in a globalized world, “country of origin” should not be the criteria in assessing cybersecurity.
“Huawei’s equipment has components from countries all over the world and are assembled in many different countries, including the US, Japan, Europe and Asia,” she said. Conversely, “Nokia for example, has established a joint venture in China and the Chinese state has shares in this joint venture. They provide their technology and solutions not only to the Chinese market, but also to around 50 overseas markets. So, would you call that a European company or a Chinese company?” Chen said.
She concluded the argument by saying that “what I’m trying to convey is that the assessment of cybersecurity should not be based upon the nationality of a company alone.”
Ms. Chen added that Huawei currently has no cybersecurity risk management agreement together with the Chinese government, while it does have cybersecurity cooperation with Germany and the UK for example at this moment.
In April, the Belgian Centre for Cybersecurity (CCB), announced that it had not found any evidence of cyber security threats, following a months-long investigation, and will consequently not issue a negative opinion on the company.