Huawei still has a shot at the world's hottest mobile market

Huawei has been shut out of some major 5G markets because of security concerns. But it may still have a shot...

Posted: Dec. 18, 2018 2:54 PM
Updated: Dec. 18, 2018 2:54 PM

Huawei has been shut out of some major 5G markets because of security concerns. But it may still have a shot in India.

The Chinese telecommunications equipment maker said it has been invited by the Indian government to conduct 5G trials in the world's hottest smartphone market.

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"We are excited to pursue this opportunity to partner with the government for a timely deployment of 5G in India," the company said in a statement late Monday.

Trials will start early next year, according to Huawei. The Indian government, which aims to roll out 5G services across the country by 2020, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Huawei said it had already carried out some initial 5G tests in partnership with wireless operators Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio, which is owned by India's richest man.

The Chinese company, which sells smartphones and telecommunications gear, has come under increased scrutiny after the United States warned of potential national security risks from using its products.

The recent arrest of Huawei's chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, has raised additional questions about the firm. US prosecutors accuse Meng of helping Huawei get around sanctions on Iran. The company says it is unaware of any wrongdoing by Meng and insists that it complies with all applicable laws and regulations where it operates.

Huawei has largely been shut out of the United States, and Australia and New Zealand have blocked mobile providers from using the company's 5G services.

Two major European telecoms companies — France's Orange (ORAN) and BT (BT) in the United Kingdom — recently ruled out using Huawei products in their core domestic 5G networks. Germany's Deutsche Telekom (DTEGY) and Japan's SoftBank (SFTBF) are reviewing their use of Huawei equipment.

Huawei has repeatedly denied accusations that its products pose a security risk, or that it works under the influence of the Chinese government.

"The recent global developments have no bearing in India," the company said in its statement to CNN Business. "We are in constant dialogue with the industry and all stakeholders, and have a proven track record of doing business in the country."

Sales of Huawei smartphones, which US intelligence agencies have warned American citizens not to use, have increased this year in India.

The company accounted for about 3% of India's fast-growing smartphone market in the quarter ended June, up from 1% a year earlier, according to Counterpoint Research.

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