Wednesday, 05 February 2020 10:44

US ropes in tech firms in bid to cut Huawei reliance Featured

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US ropes in tech firms in bid to cut Huawei reliance Image by Markus Spiske from Pixabay

A number of American technology companies such as Microsoft, Dell and AT&T have joined an effort sponsored by the White House to create advanced software for 5G networks in order to reduce the dependence on Chinese telecommunications equipment vendor Huawei Technologies.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the plan was to agree on a common standard to allow developers to write code that would run on top of hardware from any 5G vendor.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow was quoted as saying: “The big-picture concept is to have all of the US 5G architecture and infrastructure done by American firms, principally.

“That also could include Nokia and Ericsson because they have big US presences.”

The US has no company that can supply equipment for an end-to-end 5G network, with Huawei, Sweden's Ericsson and Finland's Nokia the only three firms that can do so.

The one American company in the business, Lucent Technologies, merged with the French company Alcatel in 2006. A decade later, the merged entity was absorbed by Nokia.

The US has been trying to persuade countries it regards as allies against the use of Huawei equipment in 5G networks. Only Australia has come out openly and said it would ban the Chinese firm from any role.

Washington claims that Huawei can be ordered to spy for the Chinese Government and is therefore a security risk. Huawei has strongly denied that it can be coerced into such activities.

Japan, Poland and South Korea have indicated that they would toe the US line but are yet to make any definitive statements.

Last week, the US suffered a blow to its efforts when the UK announced that it would allow Huawei to supply up to 35% of the gear for non-core parts of its 5G networks. Three UK telcos launched networks last year and all have used Huawei equipment in non-core parts of their networks.

The WSJ report said there would be many hurdles to achieving what had been outlined, as different companies were involved and each had its own priorities.

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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