Huawei (Finally!) Gets 5G Invite From India

Huawei has finally been invited by India's Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to participate in the country's 5G field trials, after authorities were previously said to have excluded the Chinese equipment maker from those trials. (See India Joins US & Australia to Give Huawei, ZTE 5G Cold Shoulder – Reports.)

Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and smaller Chinese vendor ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763) did not feature on the initial list of vendors the DoT invited to participate in 5G trials and develop India-specific 5G services in partnership with telcos. That vendor list included Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC) and NEC Corp. (Tokyo: 6701).

But media reports now say that Huawei will conduct 5G tests in two Indian cities, including New Delhi. It will also work with app developers and academic institutions on the development of India-specific 5G services, according to those reports.

Indian authorities were previously said to have restricted the role of Huawei and ZTE in the country's 5G market, with security concerns cited as a possible reason. ZTE does not yet appear to have received an invitation from the Indian government regarding the 5G initiative.

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The initial invitation to the vendors was based on the recommendation of a high-level 5G panel set up by India's government. Heading that panel was Arogyaswami Paulraj, a professor of engineering at Stanford University. Approached by Light Reading, and asked why Huawei was excluded from the 5G project, Paulraj said in an emailed response: "The government of India decides which original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are invited and when so, for trials. I am not in the government and not involved in such matters."

India's government believes 5G could provide a huge boost to the country's economy. It is especially keen on developing services for agriculture, manufacturing and the social sector. For that reason, authorities are taking steps to ensure India will be in a position to roll out 5G commercially by 2020.

Globally, both Huawei and ZTE have been barred from participating in the 5G market in Australia. Major US service providers have been warned off using the Chinese vendors ever since they were labeled a security risk in a 2012 government report.

— Gagandeep Kaur, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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