January 6, 2021
You can't accuse Huawei of not having some chutzpah.
After being banned from supplying 5G core and RAN equipment in Australia as far back as 2018, well before the US campaign of leaning heavily on allies to ditch Chinese suppliers, Huawei is looking for a way back through 6G.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Huawei wants to start discussions with the Australian government about how best to collaborate on 6G R&D and avoid a repeat of the 5G ban.
Jeremy Mitchell, Huawei's director of corporate affairs in Australia, bullishly implied it was in the best interests of the government to play ball.
"The conversation we now want to have with the Australian government is what do we do when 6G or 7G [Ed note: Uh?] comes, because like it or not Huawei or another Chinese company will be the leader in this area."
Mitchell said the aim was to ensure that Australia had access to the "best technology" and to give "security agencies confidence in terms of risk mitigation."
Huawei's thinking is that by collaborating from the outset on 6G, which is generally expected not to be commercially available until at least 2030, it will prove wrong the allegations that the supplier is at the beck and call of the Chinese state and poses a risk to national security.
"6G is just at the very beginning of research development but it's important to get in now to understand where this technology is going," he added.
Australia isn't like Europe
Mitchell didn't confine his thoughts to 6G.
He welcomed efforts made by Ericsson CEO Börje Ekholm to overturn Huawei's 5G ban in Sweden by highlighting the importance of open markets and free competition. Mitchell ruefully noted, however, that Ericsson in Australia – where it enjoys a "near monopoly status" - kept schtum when Huawei was told to pack its 5G bags.
Want to know more about 5G? Check out our dedicated 5G content channel here on Light Reading. "I think it would be welcome if Ericsson in Australia, as well as Nokia, adopted the same approach as their European headquarters," said Mitchell. The Huawei man seemed to suggest that R&D in the vendor space was much more collegiate in Europe than Australia. "It's a different mindset," said Mitchell. — Ken Wieland, contributing editor, Light Reading
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