As the country moves closer to the auction of fifth-generation spectrum and prepares to roll out 5G spectrum-based field trials, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd is leaving no stone unturned to ensure it plays a role in India's 5G footprint.
While the telecom network and product major has been working with many telecom players on drawing their 4G footprint, the country is yet to take a decision on Huawei's participation.
Sources privy to the developments told CNBC-TV18 that Chinese tech giant, which has invested $3.5 billion in India so far, has written to the union telecom ministry and the department of telecom seeking clarity on India's decision and asking them to fast track their final decision to ensure a smooth rollout.
“Huawei global management will be coming to India next month to speak to Indian government officials. The group has made several representations to the government explaining and outlining their stance. A final meeting is likely next month between the global management team and government officials. What Huawei does in India in the future will hinge on that meeting,” a source close to the development said.
Huawei Technologies is the No. 2 smartphone brand worldwide and the biggest maker of switching gear at the heart of phone networks. Its equipment is used by 45 of the 50 biggest global phone carriers.
Huawei is a pioneer in the emerging field of next-generation, or 5G, telecoms. It promises not just faster internet but support for self-driving cars and other futuristic applications. That fuels Western security concerns and makes 5G politically sensitive. The US claims the company might aid Chinese spying, though Huawei denies that and American officials have provided no evidence.
Earlier this year, a high-level committee was appointed under the principal scientific advisor and was asked to give recommendations on the applications submitted by foreign network operators for the upcoming 5G trials.
Sources in the know told CNBC-TV18 that Samsung, Nokia and Ericsson have obtained clearance, however, the Chinese's companies which include ZTE and Huawei are yet to hear from the government.
The move comes amidst the US banning Huawei network and products from the country, in the face of allegations of spying on behalf of the Chinese government and the Donald Trump administration has asked its allies to do the same.
While India has not decided yet, the final decision by the committee is expected next month as 5G trails will begin soon and will be a defining step in India's relationship with both China and the US. Huawei currently holds more than 2,500 standard essential patents for 5G and is a leader in the technology.
"As a global information and communications technology (ICT) and 5G leader operating in India for near two decades now, we are committed to bringing digital for a fully connected, intelligent India and in the course of this process will continue to abide by the rules and regulations of the land. We understand that it is reasonable and the right approach for the Indian government to evaluate cybersecurity carefully and then make their independent decision for 5G trials," said Jay Chen, the India chief executive officer of Huawei, to CNBC-TV18.
"It is well known that Huawei is closely working with all governments, including the Indian government on 5G technology, solutions and security issues. Beyond that, it is to be noted that Huawei has stepped up to advocate the industry to sign the ‘no backdoor’ agreement with the Indian government indicating our strong commitment towards cybersecurity," Chen said.
"Cybersecurity is a technical issue that should be addressed through technical means. We share the same opinion as to the Indian government that network security is important and it depends upon the joint efforts of all stakeholders. Security is a marathon, and Huawei is part of the positive initiatives to improve India’s network security and capability, which goes beyond just 5G. Huawei believes that the Indian government will make an independent decision on 5G for the long-term benefit of India, based on verifiable facts and technical data rather than ideology or a vendor’s country of origin. We also believe that the Indian Government will treat all foreign investments fairly, and justly provide a level playing field to all investments," he added.
(With inputs from AP)