Friday, 23 October 2020 07:48

Huawei uses rival's words to claim Australia's 5G ban hurts country Featured

Huawei uses rival's words to claim Australia's 5G ban hurts country Image by F. Muhammad from Pixabay

Huawei Australia has used comments made by Ericsson chief executive Börje Ekholm during the presentation of results to push the Chinese company's claim that the ban imposed on it has sharply reduced competition in the 5G supplier market and hence driven up costs.

Jeremy Mitchell, chief corporate affairs officer at Huawei Australia, said in a statement that the ban had led to a virtual monopoly in the Australian market with both big telcos, Telstra and Optus, using gear from the Swedish firm for their 5G networks.

The ban forced Optus and Vodafone to have to change their choice of vendor and also interfered with the plans of TPG, which spent $100 million on Huawei gear, to enter the Australian mobile market. TPG and Vodafone later merged.

Mitchell cited Ekholm's comments made a couple of days back in which the Ericsson chief said: “The reality is we [Ericsson] thrive in a situation where there is competition – competition drives out the best from us. We will be more innovative, provide better solutions to customers. So I welcome that we have global competition."

He said Huawei was fully in agreement with that sentiment, adding that it was confirmation of what the company had said many times.

Mitchell said Huawei also agreed with Ekholm's observation that there was a need to deploy "genuinely ubiquitous 5G coverage as soon as possible in order to really start exploring the industrial opportunities that 5G can bring".

He pointed out that Ekholm had said a key learning area was in China where about half-a-million 5G base stations had been activated compared to just a couple of thousand in Australia.

Ekholm said during the results presentation: “It’s important for the rest of the world, and notably Europe, to take some impressions from the fast [5G] build out pace we’re seeing in China.

“The strategy that the Chinese operators are deploying is to build out the network because it’s a platform for innovation, and it’s a platform for driving the rest of the economy – in Europe we tend to focus more on the investments in 5G, but the reality is that the value of the applications you’re going to run on top of 5G is much higher.

“The Chinese operators recognise that, and the Chinese system is recognising that… driving more investments to build out a network infrastructure. We see almost the opposite in Europe.”

Mitchell said Huawei was in total agreement with these opinions. "Once again we find ourselves in agreement with Ekholm and it should not come as a surprise that South Korea – the leading 5G market in the world as recognised by global telecoms researcher OMDIA – has encouraged competition between 5G technology providers knowing how it will spur innovation.

"Indeed, only last week the South Koreans resisted further pressure from the US to ban Huawei from 5G in the country, arguing that it was up to private network operators to make their own choices on technology providers."

He said the 5G ban on Huawei under Malcolm Turnbull had cost Australia the chance to be a true world leader in 5G and set back the country's deployment by at least two years, costing billions of dollars by making 5G deployment much more expensive.

"We have already seen Telstra increase 5G prices by up to $15 per month for consumers as a consequence of those higher rollout costs and most people in Australia are still nowhere being able to access a 5G signal where they live – and that’s the most disappointing part," Mitchell said.

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Sam Varghese

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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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