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Chinese firms kept out of 5G trials, China expresses concern

On Wednesday, a Chinese embassy spokesperson said, “We noted relevant notification, and express concern and regret that Chinese telecommunications companies have not been permitted to conduct 5G trials with Indian Telecom Service Providers in India.”

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi |
May 6, 2021 4:02:40 am
The Department of Telecommunications on Tuesday allowed three private telcos, Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio Infocomm and Vi (formerly Vodafone Idea) as well as state-run Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) to start 5G trials in the country.

CHINA HAS expressed “concern and regret” at the Indian government’s decision to keep Chinese telecom firms such as Huawei out of the 5G trials.

On Wednesday, a Chinese embassy spokesperson said, “We noted relevant notification, and express concern and regret that Chinese telecommunications companies have not been permitted to conduct 5G trials with Indian Telecom Service Providers in India.”

“Relevant Chinese companies have been operating in India for years, providing mass job opportunities and making contribution to India’s infrastructure construction in telecommunications. To exclude Chinese telecommunications companies from the trials will not only harm their legitimate rights and interests, but also hinder the improvement of the Indian business environment, which is not conducive to the innovation and development of related Indian industries.”

“The Chinese side hopes that India could do more to enhance mutual trust and cooperation between the two countries, and provide an open, fair, just, and non-discriminatory investment and business environment for market entities from all countries, including China, to operate and invest in India,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

The Department of Telecommunications on Tuesday allowed three private telcos, Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio Infocomm and Vi (formerly Vodafone Idea) as well as state-run Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) to start 5G trials in the country. The initial duration of the trial will be six months, which includes two months for procurement and setting up of equipment.

The two major Chinese telecom equipment and technology vendors, Huawei and ZTE, were absent from the partner list of the three private telcos and MTNL. While there is no official bar on the deployment of equipment and technology from these two vendors, they have effectively been left out of the trials as no telcos requested permission to use their equipment.

Though Huawei is the world’s largest maker of telecom equipment and the second-largest maker of mobile phone parts, the company’s alleged relationship with the Chinese Communist Party and China’s military apparatus landed it in trouble more than once and eventually led to a ban on usage in multiple countries such as the US and UK.

In December 2019, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said all companies, including Huawei and ZTE, would be permitted to participate in the trials for 5G services. A border skirmish in June 2020, which left over 20 Indian soldiers dead, however, cast shadow on the two companies’ ability to participate in any telecom tenders.

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