NEW DELHI: The Indian government has finally asked the Chinese telecom major Huawei to conduct the fifth-generation (5G) pilot initiative together with telecom carriers.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has invited incumbent service providers and gear makers such as Swedish Ericsson, Finnish Nokia, and Korean Samsung together with Huawei to discuss the 5G field trial roadmap, including allocation of desired airwaves on Tuesday.
“We have invited all operators and vendors, and the DoT is working further,” telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters at an industry event.
Prasad further added that the government has taken an in-principle decision to allow the 5G spectrum for trials.
The development that has come on the eve of the New Year is poised to bring much respite to Huawei which has been marred with security concerns worldwide despite having the largest patent portfolio in the 5G domain as well as cost-effective offering.
The Shenzhen-based company boasts of having a robust line-up with a ready-to-deploy compact base transceiver station that can also offer multiple technologies including 4G, 3G, and even 2G.
Following the United States President Donald J Trump’s diktat against Huawei’s technology, the company had come under widespread scrutiny worldwide.
Meanwhile, British premier Boris Johnson is expected to allow Chinese heavyweight after reportedly receiving a nod from the country’s security officials.
Sunil Mittal-driven Bharti Airtel has partnered with Huawei, Nokia, and Ericsson while Vodafone Idea has entered into tie-ups with Huawei and Ericsson for 5G network pilot program.
Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Jio, on the other hand, has an exclusive deal with Korean Samsung to run a trial network before latching onto commercial deployment, after a full-fledged auction process.
“We have full confidence in the Modi government to drive 5G in India,” Huawei India chief executive Jay Chen said and added that the industry should partner with the best technology for India’s own long-term benefit and also for cross-industry development.
Earlier, a high-level 5G Forum, headed by Stanford University professor AJ Paulraj recommended the conversion of 5G trial networks into commercial deployments.
Paulraj, however, separately also said that Huawei’s backdoor apprehensions were not backed by any data, and the US assertion against the Chinese company was baseless.