China’s Huawei 5G plans seem to be falling apart, as it is gradually getting cleansed from the world map. Now, Singapore too is showing the door to the Chinese telecom major.
Telecom operators in the city-State have selected European companies- Nokia and Ericsson to build the 5G network. A joint venture between M1 and Starhub has awarded one of Singapore’s licenses to Nokia. The Finnish multi-national is going to build the radio access network and it is also said to be the preferred supplier for the core and mmWave networks.
Two Singaporean firms- Singtel and a joint venture between StarHub and M1 had won the rights to build the 5G network in the city-State. Meanwhile, Singtel has also issued a separate statement regarding the 5G network. The Singaporean multi-national has said that it has finalised Ericsson for negotiating the provision of ran, core and mmWave networks.
Singtel and the StarHub-M1 consortium have to map the entire island of Singapore with 5G connectivity by 2025. By selecting European companies, and giving a cold shoulder to Huawei, the Singaporean firms have literally washed away China’s 5G dream in the city-State.
The only small window of opportunity for Beijing comes in the form of TPG Telecom- an Australian telecom and IT company. It did not win the nationwide 5G license in Singapore, unlike Singtel and StarHub-M1 joint venture. But it has been allowed to operate smaller 5G networks for providing spot coverage using airwaves. TPG has chosen Huawei as its key vendor.
With this, Huawei’s troubles have escalated in Southeast Asia. The telecom major was already rejected by Malaysia, as it revoked 5G telecommunication spectrum allocations to five companies, including two linked to Chinese tech giant Huawei.
Beijing would have been pinning its hopes on Singapore, as the multiracial city-state is dominated by 76.2 percent Chinese population. In fact, not very long ago, M1 chief Manjot Singh Mann had stated that it would continue to make use of Huawei if it makes commercial sense.
However, the ideals of democracy and transparency which are alien to Beijing are non-negotiable matters for Singapore.
Moreover, Singapore happens to be a US ally and recently Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that the US security presence “remains vital to the Asia-Pacific region.” He added, “Despite its increasing military strength, China would be unable to take over the United States’ security role.”
Things, therefore, keep going downhill for China’s telecom giant, as major markets across the world are shutting their doors in Beijing. Recently, two Canadian telecom carriers – BCE Inc. (parent company of Bell) and Telus Corp also decided to use equipment from Nokia and Ericsson to build out their next-generation 5G networks in Canada. This effectively means that Canada has shown the door to the 5G giant.
Nokia and Ericsson are aggressively snatching away all markets from Huawei. In Latin America, Brazil, one of the largest markets for Chinese telecom giant Huawei, may be all set to give away its 5G contracts to European telecom players, Ericsson and Nokia, as the United States is in talks with the Brazilian government where the US proposes to fund the 5G infrastructure under the condition that Brazil dumps Huawei.
At a purely operational level, Washington has given some severe jolts to the telecom major. The Trump administration imposed semiconductor (chip) export restrictions on the company last month. The Chinese giant’s survival is at stake now. Guo Ping, rotating chairman, at Huawei’s annual analyst conference said, “We will now work hard to figure out how to survive,” He added, “Survival is the keyword for us now.”
Security issues have been plaguing Huawei for quite some time now. The Communist Party of China (CCP) exercises effective control on the telecom major. And then there are espionage accusations involved with Huawei which is the reason why countries like the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia have been crusading against it.
Within India, Jio is emerging as a big player. And RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani even told the US President Donald Trump, “We’re going to do 5G. We are the only network in the world that doesn’t have a single Chinese component.”
Trump is clearly winning his Huawei war against Xi Jinping, and the latest battlefield where the Chinese President has been made to eat crow is Singapore.