Portugal willing to allow Huawei to build 5G network infrastructure
Portugal became the latest EU nation to affirm its inclination towards allowing Huawei and other Chinese telecoms service providers to set-up the 5G network infrastructure in a move that is oblivious to U.S. calls against the action.
Speaking at a diplomatic briefing, Portugal’s Foreign Affairs Minister – Augusto Santos Silva, asserted Lisbon’s pro-Chinese 5G stance saying; “the European Union (EU) is to define one common position on the 5G mobile network without excluding any company, from any country”.
Santos Silva was speaking at the Great Wall of China in the presence of Portugal and China’s Presidents, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and Xi Jinping respectively.
The Eurozone bloc is working until August 2019, to communicate the risks associated with setting up 5G network infrastructure regardless of the operations or data. This provision according to the Foreign Minister, allows Lisbon to work towards allaying its assessments and then move forward on a European level.
“This is not a question related to company A, B, C or D, but we need to take the necessary measures to guarantee an infrastructure that complies with all the security requirements from the state’s point of view and for the citizens’ personal data,” said the Foreign Minister of Portugal, Augusto Santos Silva, speaking at a press conference.
Portugal’s President – Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, emphasized how countries across Europe are willing to work with Huawei. He said, “It was not only the UK that approved Huawei technology, big countries and European economies have communicated their worries and say they were planning to maintain the partnership with that group, as long as they comply with security measures”.
The President, at the same event, noted that Portugal was free to choose who better complies with its security rules and is not under any pressure by any agreement between private companies.
In December 2018, Huawei partnered with market-leading Telecommunications Operator – Altice Portugal, to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) committing to the development and implementation of 5G services in Portugal.
Altice Portugal owns MEO, the largest landline operator in Portugal. Its operating brands include MEO, a quadruple play service provider and SAPO – an ISP, and producer of web content.
Under the MoU, Huawei will supply the equipment and software for Altice Portugal to upgrade its network to support commercially applicable 5G standards by 2019.
“We are delighted to partner with Huawei to further drive forward the development of 5G services in Portugal. Huawei have been a trusted partner for Altice for many years, and we look forward to explore this revolutional new technology together for the benefit of our Consumer and Enterprise customers, as well as a way to promote new business models and services,” said Altice Portugal’s CEO, Alexandre Fonseca
Altice PT’s services will use Huawei equipment and software as a natural evolution of the already existing 4G network footprint in Portugal. 5G will provide operators with improved access to mobile broadband networks, supporting reliable and low latency communications for both consumers and devices.
The Altice MoU in Portugal is the latest in Huawei’s tally of 5G network clients – 14 in Europe, five in the Middle East and three in Asia – putting the Chinese company ahead of Nokia and Ericsson as the leading position as a supplier of next-generation telecommunications technology.
Last week, The US Embassy in Portugal publicly voiced their security concerns to an agreement for Chinese company Huawei to install a 5G cellular network in Portugal. The Embassy invited a small group of journalists in the final days of February to a conference with the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Ajit Pai, at the end of his visit to Portugal.
The visit, Ajit Pai said, had a clear goal: to warn that China’s participation, notably Huawei, “poses a risk” that Portugal should not take, for it would create discomfort in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ally.
The ambassador of the United States, George E. Glass, went further saying that while Portugal is one of the US closest allies, namely in NATO, ties with China in telecom network development make sharing critical information through networks unsafe and expose the U.S. to impending espionage attacks thereby affecting relations with Portugal.
In January this year, the US Justice Department filed criminal charges including financial fraud against Chinese telecoms giant Huawei and its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou.
US federal prosecutors unsealed a 13-count indictment and announced 10 additional charges against Huawei and its US subsidiary for allegedly stealing trade secrets. All indictments have spurned tense US-China relations.
Published in Lusophone