India Selects Cisco, Samsung, Nokia, Ericsson for 5G trials; Bars Huawei and ZTE

India’s  Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has excluded Huawei and ZTE from its list of companies asked to partner for trials to develop 5G use cases for India.   New Delhi may well follow the US and Australia in limiting involvement of Chinese telecom equipment makers in the roll-out of the next-gen technology.

“We have written to CiscoSamsung, Ericsson and Nokia, and telecom service providers to partner with us to start 5G technology-based trials, and have got positive response from them,” telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan told ETTelecom.

“We have excluded Huawei from these trials,” she said, when asked if Huawei has been eliminated from the trials for security reasons. The government is planning to show case India-specific 5G use cases by early 2019.

People familiar with the matter said besides Huawei, the government has also excluded ZTE for the 5G trials.

India’s move comes shortly after both the US and Australia moved to act against Huawei and ZTE amid concerns about possible cyber snooping by China. Last month, Australia barred both Huawei and ZTE from its 5G network roll-outs. Before that, the US had barred government use of equipment from the two Chinese gear makers, in what is perceived as wider efforts to keep the companies away from 5G roll-outs in the country. The UK has also found “shortcomings” in Huawei’s engineering processes, which the company said it was trying to address.

“This appears more a move to restrict government ties with Chinese equipment makers given the sensitive nature of security issues, especially after what happened in some other countries,” said an industry executive who asked not to be named.

This though isn’t the first time Chinese equipment makers have faced trouble in India over security issues. Back in 2010, the government had for several months unofficially barred mobile phone operators from importing and using telecom equipment from Chinese companies on suspicion that they may have technology built in for spying into sensitive communication. The ban was lifted after the companies agreed to more stringent testing rules.

The latest government move could deal a huge setback to the two companies, especially Huawei – among the largest equipment makers globally – which considers itself the leader in 5G technology and hopes to tap into huge demand for 5G software and equipment in the years ahead as telcos roll-out the next-gen technology globally.

That bid faces a huge challenge as more and more countries try to prevent the companies from participating in their 5G roll-out plans.

In India, Huawei has already been facing huge pressure on revenue owing to rapid consolidation in the telecom market, which has slashed the number of telcos by more than half. The company, staring at a 40% slump in revenue in 2018, has already stopped assembly of its products out of its local plants and has resorted to import to meet the reduced demand. Huawei’s India revenue is likely to come down to roughly $700-800 million (Rs 4,740-5,415 crore) this year from around $1.2 billion in 2017.

And with the DoT’s decision, Huawei’s business could come under more pressure even as India chalks out aggressive 5G plans.

“We are in regular touch with DoT and concerned government officials. The Indian government has always supported Huawei and has been appreciative of our path-breaking technologies and solutions,” Huawei in a statement late Thursday said, adding that the company was confident that showcasing its 5G technology would lead to a collaboration with the government and other ecosystem, allowing it to partner India in its journey to enable 5G and digital transformation.

The Chinese gear maker also said that it is working closely with various telecom operators as they would play a crucial role in conducting 5G field trial for India specific use cases.   ZTE didn’t respond to ET’s emailed query as of press time.

“We are going to set up core group in the department to push this (trials) further, so that by early next year, we would be able to demonstrate 5G use cases in India,” Sundararajan said.

“As of now, we are at par with all major economies and have set up a high-level task force, which in its report has given the recommendations for the spectrum, standards, skills and early roll-outs,” she added.

The government is confident that India will roll-out 5G in tandem with global markets in 2020 and is making all efforts to keep the timeline for the next-generation technology, which could have an economic impact of more than $1 trillion in the country.

“We are committed to support the government’s 5G for India programme, aimed at bringing 5G to India by 2020,” Ericsson India managing director Nitin Bansal said, adding that the Swedish company is looking at developing the 5G ecosystem in India through industry partnerships.




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9 thoughts on “India Selects Cisco, Samsung, Nokia, Ericsson for 5G trials; Bars Huawei and ZTE

  1. Cisco, DoT team up for 5G use cases:

    Cisco Systems Friday entered into partnership with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to demonstrate India-centric fifth-generation or 5G technology-based use cases.

    Cisco has signed an agreement with BSNL under the aegis of DoT to set up a dedicated location to demonstrate use cases using 5G to solve citizen problems in areas such as education, healthcare and agriculture using technologies such as IoT, surveillance, and Artificial Intelligence, the company in a statement said.

    On Thursday, Cisco’s chairman Chuck Robbins met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and inked alliances with the state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and country’s planning panel National Institution for Transforming India or Niti Aayog.

    “Had a wonderful meeting with Mr Chuck Robbins, Chairman and CEO of Cisco. We discussed various aspects relating to technology as well as innovation,” Modi late Thursday tweeted.

    In the next phase of initiatives under company’s ambitious ‘Country Digital Acceleration’ or CDA program, Cisco works with countries across the world to accelerate existing government goals for driving economic growth through high-tech innovation.

    The two pacts are a part of the US technology giant’s next phase of CDA program in the country.

    DoT has written to the various multinational technology vendors including Cisco, Samsung, Nokia and Ericsson in addition to incumbent service providers such as Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio to develop and showcase India-specific 5G use cases.

    “We have written to Cisco, Samsung, Ericsson and Nokia, and telecom service providers to partner with us to start 5G technology-based trials, and have already got positive response,” department’s top official earlier told ETTelecom.

    “The collaboration with Cisco will provide a platform for showcasing how 5G-based e-citizen services are bringing about a change through the use of new age technologies,” telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan said.

    The initiative, according to her would also shed light on the power of a 5G network which opens up a number of exciting opportunities in the citizen services space thereby making it secure and efficient.

    Sundararajan-headed department is accelerating its efforts to meet global timeline while rolling out 5G-based services, and has already constituted a 5G Forum with representation from the academia and industry.

    “India is going through a transformational journey, with initiatives like Digital India and Smart Cities helping to power its digital economy,” Cisco Chairman and CEO Chuck Robbins said, adding that the next initiatives in Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration program underline the commitment to accelerate India’s ecosystem of talent and innovation, which he said could to help in driving economic growth.

  2. Panel urges Indian government to launch 5G spectrum policy by year-end

    A high-level 5G panel in India has suggested the local government to announce a 5G spectrum allocation policy by the end of this year, Indian press reported. The panel also recommended earmarking additional airwave bands for supporting 5G technology in the country.

    The 5G Forum, which had been set up by the Indian government, also recommended the temporary assignment of 5G frequencies for carriers willing to carry out trials in the coming months.

    “Given a six-month active trials period, spectrum license may be provided for 12 months. Further, after the trials are completed, if the operator wishes to convert the trials deployment into a commercial deployment, they may be provided favourable terms to purchase spectrum under the auction regime,” the panel said in its report, which was submitted to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

    The report also urged the government to promulgate guidelines on regulatory matters for the auction of 5G frequencies by March 2019 to facilitate early 5G deployments in the country.

    “In India, 5G deployment strategy faces conflicting considerations. If we go for early adoption, the equipment is likely to be more expensive. On the other hand, early adoption will fast track the country’s embrace of 5G’s benefits and increase opportunities to develop innovative use cases that support Indian needs,” the report said.

    It added that the government needs to keep in mind that even after the entry of 5G into Indian networks, 2G, 3G and 4G will continue to remain in use.

    The 5G panel also said that the DoT may provide financial support to operators related to deployment – backhauls, site acquisition, civil works and related operational costs. It added that additional financial support may be offered to internet service providers, technology companies, and local governments to participate in the future 5G trials.

  3. SK Telecom becomes the latest operator to snub Huawei

    South Korea’s largest operator, SK Telecom, has become the latest to snub Huawei when it comes to choice of 5G equipment supplier.

    SK Telecom has announced it will be accepting bids from Huawei’s rivals – Samsung, Ericsson, and Nokia – to supply equipment for its 5G network.

    Many industry experts speculated Huawei would be named among SK Telecom’s preferred bidders, although the vendor has been caught up in controversy much like its troubles in the US and Australia.

    The US has banned the use of Huawei’s equipment in national telecoms infrastructure for some years over security fears. Tensions were stepped up after US lawmakers were said to have been warning operators they would be ineligible for government deals and subsidies if they had contracts with Chinese equipment manufacturers.

  4. Huawei denies being excluded from India’s national 5G trial

    “Huawei is an active participant in India’s growing 5G ecosystem,” the company told ZDNet. “The government of India remains open and welcoming towards Huawei, and has been a fantastic source of support.”

    While Sundararajan’s comments did not specifically mention Huawei’s fellow Chinese telecoms equipment manufacturer ZTE, the company is also said to have been excluded from participating in India’s 5G trials.

    If true, excluding both Chinese manufacturers suggests the Indian government holds national security concerns similar to those of their US and Australian counterparts.

    On the Australian government’s recent decision to block Huawei from its 5G networks, the company said in a statement:

    “The Australian government’s decision to block Huawei from Australia’s 5G market is politically motivated, not the result of a fact-based, transparent, or equitable decision-making process.

    It is not aligned with the long-term interests of the Australian people and denies Australian businesses and consumers the right to choose from the best communications technology available.”

    Officials have expressed concerns that Chinese telecoms companies such as Huawei are controlled by the Chinese government who could install ‘backdoors’ in its equipment for surveillance purposes or to shut down critical infrastructure. Huawei has always strongly refuted such claims.

  5. Huawei Technologies, facing ­recent setbacks from security concerns, is pushing for a unified standard that would help lessen politicization of the roll-out of 5G mobile networks.

    All countries needed to recognize the importance of setting better common standards, adopting ­industry best practice and implementing risk mitigation pro­cedures to ensure there was an objective basis for choosing technology vendors, Andy Purdy, the chief security officer of Huawei USA, said in a video interview from the Singapore International Cyber Week event.

    Taking politics out of the decision-making process was vital “so there’s an open, objective and transparent basis for trust, so that the users can trust it, the government can trust it and the vendors can know what the requirements are”, he said.

    Recently, Huawei and ZTE Corp, Chinese providers that have invested heavily in research and development of next-generation networks, were excluded from building Australia’s 5G infrastructure after Canberra laid out new rules last month, citing national security concerns.

    China expressed “serious concern” about Australia’s action, ­according to a statement from Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang. Meanwhile, amid an escalating trade war between the United States and China, the US government has identified Huawei and ZTE as security threats because of alleged ties to the Chinese government.

    Shenzhen-based Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment vendor, has worked with all of Australia’s major network operators, and more than 50 per cent of Australians use a device from the Chinese firm for their daily communications needs, according to a description on its Twitter account.

    Purdy said unified, objective security standards that were applicable to all markets and spread around the world could be “a very good thing”.

    He served as the director of the National Cyber Security Division of the US Department of Homeland Security from 2004-06.

    Following Canberra’s new guidelines, which bar the involvement of vendors “that are likely to be subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government that conflict with Australian law”, Huawei said in a statement that the decision was made on “political grounds that undermine fair trade and hurt the interests of ­local consumers”.

    Purdy said it was important to sort out how to assess and address risk in relation to 5G to ­ensure all vendors could meet ­objective functional, quality and security requirements.

    “The more clarity we get, the more likely we’ll be able to say at some point that these things are necessary and that we can do them, and that we can show that we can do them,” Purdy said, adding all vendors needed to dem­onstrate they could meet the requirements objectively.

    Frank Mademann, a Huawei employee who is also the elected chairman of the Architecture Workgroup at 3GPP, the organisation that sets standards for the world’s telecommunications industry, also took part in the video interview. He said 5G could lead to the world’s first global standard.

    Mademann said the technology was “designed to make 5G safer than 4G” and the next-generation network offered more protections around subscriber identity, safeguarded the interconnections between various carrier networks and would become more difficult to crack as it adopt­ed better encryption methods.

  6. Government invites Huawei for 5G trials, says company’s India CEO

    Chinese telecom gear maker Huawei on Friday said it has received invitation from the Indian government to be a part of 5G trials in the country.

    “We have received official invitation from the Department of Telecom (DoT) on September 27. We have submitted our proposal and now waiting for reply from the department,” Huawei India CEO Jay Chen told PTI.

    DoT has already approached Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung, Cisco and NEC for development of 5G applications and running trials on the su ..

  7. India’s 5G field trials to start early next year and continue for 2-3 quarters or more

    ET, Radhey Shyam Sarda, Wireless CTO, Huawei India discussed at length about Indian industry’s efforts to drive 5G in the country.

    What are the new technologies that Indian telcos are aggressively pushing for?

    Now telcos are focusing on making the network ready for future and when we look at the future, ofcourse 5G is one key milestone that we see. Telcos are introducing technologies like NFV and NB-IoT to introduce IoT use cases to start with. They are also working on massive MIMO which is a 5G technology and it has been applied in 4G network as well to address the exponential growth of data traffic.

    Another key technology that we are applying is called CloudAIR. If we look at India market, we have 2G, 3G and we also have 4G while 4G is still getting densified.

    Now that we are talking about 5G, the key question is that, when we have to keep 2G, 3G for some more time, we cannot sunset them immediately. How do we introduce 4G given that the spectrum is limited? The traditional way of doing this is called refarming.

    So if I have to refarm some 2G spectrum and use it for 4G, I will have to shut down 2G which is not possible in India market scenario because there is still very huge number of 2G subscribers and 3G subscribers. Hence we are introducing CloudAIR which enables us to dynamically share spectrum between technologies and that is how we are able to introduce 4G in the same spectrum in which we are running 2G.

    Given that there are times in the day when 2G traffic is high for voice and then there are other times when data traffic is high, in such scenario this technology is able to maximize the utilization of spectrum and enables us to do more and more 4G in the limited spectrum with 2G or 3G service continuity.

    We have now taken this family to the standards and it is now getting into 3GPP standard for LTE and 5G spectrum sharing and this will also be one of the key technologies going forward while we add towards 5G India market and globally.

    Where does India stand today on the 5G trials front?

    In the beginning of this year we conducted the first 5G demo with one of the leading operators in January. In IMC also we demonstrated 3 use cases on live 5G network. The use cases could be experienced in Huawei booth as well as at booths of Airtel and Reliance Jio. In Airtel booth we demonstrated AR-based holographic communication and in Jio booth we demonstrated telemedicine based remote diagnosis. All use cases that we are introducing demonstrate key technologies like low latency, AR/VR. These technologies will be the key building blocks of many more 5G use cases.

  8. UK and Germany grow wary of Huawei as US turns up pressure-Delegation from Washington warns against using Chinese supplier for 5G networks. US, Australia and New Zealand have already blocked the use of Huawei 5G equipment on national security grounds.

    The UK and Germany are growing wary of allowing Huawei, the Chinese telecoms company, to install 5G equipment in their countries after a US delegation visited Europe to urge heightened vigilance against national security threats.

    UK security officials on Thursday issued a new public warning to Huawei, saying the Chinese company must fix problems in the equipment it provides to British networks or risk a further deterioration in what is an increasingly strained relationship.

    The clear message delivered by the US delegation this month and in online communications is that Germany and the UK as key American allies must safeguard the security of their telecoms networks and supply chains, said people familiar with the situation.

    The warnings come as Germany and the UK are preparing for auctions next year for 5G, a superfast service that will enable a new generation of digital products and services. Huawei is the world’s biggest telecoms equipment supplier and has been seen as a frontrunner to build the first networks in both countries, where it has conducted extensive 5G tests.

    The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), part of the digital intelligence agency GCHQ, said Huawei must fix problems, highlighted in July, that pose “new risks in UK telecommunications networks”.

    The issues came to a head in a tense meeting between the board set up to scrutinize Huawei equipment and the Chinese company earlier this month, said government officials and telecoms executives.

    “As you might imagine there are some strains in the relationship as we deal with the issues set out in the latest oversight board report,” the spokesperson said. “But we remain committed to working with the company to put it right.”

    Banning Huawei outright from providing 5G equipment to UK providers or removing them from existing telecoms networks remains unlikely, officials said. But the message to the Chinese company is clear.

    “They are slowing down Huawei to allow the rest of the market to catch up,” said one former intelligence official. “If I was part of oversight board or government, I would be putting the boot in right now.”

    UK security officials rejected the suggestion they are hardening their stance in response to growing pressure from the US, insisting the concerns are not based on Huawei’s Chinese origins as a company but on the way the company manufactures software and equipment which makes critical telecoms networks vulnerable to cyber attack.

    A spokesperson for Huawei said: “We are grateful for this feedback and committed to addressing these issues. Cyber security remains Huawei’s top priority, and we will continue to actively improve our engineering processes and risk management systems.”

    New Zealand this week became the latest country to take action against Huawei, blocking one of its biggest telecoms operators from using Huawei’s 5G equipment. The US and Australia have already blocked the company on national security grounds.

    In Germany, officials said the mood in government was growing increasingly wary of Huawei’s potential involvement in building the country’s 5G network. While it is too early to say if Berlin will ban the Chinese company from participating, concerns in some parts of the government, including the foreign and interior ministries, is deepening, officials said.

    “The US influence on this has really intensified recently,” said one German official, who requested anonymity.

    Cui Haifeng, vice-president of Huawei in west Europe, told the Financial Times in Hamburg that the company was doing everything possible to allay concerns over security. Asked if Germany was set to issue a ban, he said: “So far, I never heard about this kind of thing.”

    “[For] every technology for us at Huawei we always try to put the security and safety as top priorities so all the design, products and services will be safe,” Mr Cui said.

    Raffaello Pantucci, director of international securities studies at UK think-tank RUSI
    “The NCSC has concerns around a range of technical issues and has set out improvements the company must make,” a government spokesperson said. “In the UK, the conversation with regard to China has definitely shifted with the hawks becoming kind of dominant,” Mr Pantucci added.

    The main US concern over Huawei equipment is that the company’s ties to the Chinese government could enable snooping or interference. Huawei has strongly denied such charges.

    More generally, the US is worried about the potential application of China’s National Intelligence Law, approved in 2017, which states that Chinese “organisations and citizens shall . . . support, co-operate with and collaborate in national intelligence work”. The risk, said US officials, is that this could mean that Chinese companies overseas are called upon to engage in espionage. (on line sub required)

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