25 February 2020
Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group, presents the new Mate X smartphone on Sunday ahead of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Photo: Reuters
Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group, presents the new Mate X smartphone on Sunday ahead of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Photo: Reuters

Trump ‘clear and correct’ on 5G, says Huawei chief

China’s Huawei Technologies on Sunday welcomed comments from President Donald Trump about the future of US mobile communications and asserted the company’s position as a world-leading smartphone producer, Reuters reports.

Speaking ahead of the Mobile World Congress trade event which begins in Barcelona on Monday, Huawei Chairman Guo Ping said Trump’s recent assertion that the US needs to get ahead in mobile communications through competition rather than seeking to block technology was “clear and correct”.

Trump’s tweets on Thursday did not specifically mention Huawei, the world’s largest producer of mobile network equipment, but appeared to soften earlier US statements that the Chinese firm should be barred from Western networks on security grounds.

“I have noticed the president’s Twitter, he said that the US needs faster and smarter 5G, or even 6G in the future, and he has realized that the US is lagging behind in this respect, and I think his message is clear and correct,” Guo said, speaking through an interpreter.

Pointing out that the US does not represent the whole world, Guo called for equipment makers, network operators and governments to work together to devise trustworthy standards to manage cyber security risks.

“We need to have unified standard that should be verifiable. It should not be based on politics,” Guo said.

The Huawei boss, meanwhile, reiterated his company’s position that it has never and would never allow any country to spy through its equipment.

US and Chinese negotiators are set to meet for a sixth straight day of negotiations on Sunday as they work to strike a deal ahead of a March 1 deadline on a trade dispute.

At the center of the imbroglio is Huawei, accused by Washington of sanctions busting, intellectual property theft and facilitating Chinese state espionage operations.

Ahead of mobile industry’s biggest global event, Huawei sought to reaffirm its position as one of the world’s leading technology companies, unveiling a folding 5G smartphone to an audience of media and analysts in Barcelona.

Huawei, the world’s second-largest smartphone vendor after Samsung, said it had taken the lead in developing phones for 5G because it was also involved in developing the networks.

The new Huawei Mate X will have two back-to-back screens which unfold to become an eight-inch tablet display, and goes on sale later this year priced at 2,299 euros (US$2,607), setting a new upper limit for consumer smartphones.

Samsung had unveiled its own folding smartphone last week, priced at nearly US$2,000, as part of a bid to top the technology of Chinese rivals and Apple.

China’s Xiaomi, the world’s fourth-largest smartphone maker, also unveiled a 5G handset on Sunday, but without the folding screen or high price tags touted by the Huawei and Samsung devices. Xiaomi’s offering will start at 599 euros (US$679) when it hits the market in May.

In other news, Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri told Reuters that he does not expect the possible exclusion of Chinese companies on security grounds to delay the rollout of next-generation 5G services in European markets. 

Debate is raging in Europe over whether to heed calls from Washington to bar China’s Huawei, even as big telecoms operators warn that such a move could set back the deployment of 5G by years.

Suri, however, downplayed concerns that a reduced field of vendors could slow network upgrades.

The real reasons for Europe’s growing 5G lag behind the US are hold-ups in issuing spectrum to operators, as well as high auction costs in countries such as Italy, he said.

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