Huawei is pushing cash-strapped South Asian nations to adopt its low-cost 5G technology as the tech behemoth moves to fend off U.S. claims that it’s a proxy for Chinese spying.

Already well-positioned in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, Huawei is intensifying its efforts to allay Indian concerns over the company’s perceived ties to the Chinese army before the start of 5G trials there later this year.

“Go digital, not political, is a choice that serves the interests of all stakeholders,” a spokesman for Huawei Southeast Asia, which includes the Indian subcontinent, told Nikkei Asian Review. “We will try our best to complete the trial for customers, and work together with industry partners to push forward the 5G ecosystem.”

India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are all aiming for the commercial deployment of 5G services in the second half of next year, with Bangladesh more likely to launch its 5G network in 2021.

“In India, the policy ambiguity surrounding Huawei’s participation in 5G trials, is casting a shadow over operator readiness,” Prabhu Ram, head of industry intelligence at Cyber Media Research, told Nikkei. “The government is expected to examine all security related issues before allowing Huawei to take part in 5G trials in India.”

The company is in a much stronger position across the rest of South Asia, Ram added, where “it has demonstrated 5G in countries such as Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and both countries remain amenable to it, with no security concerns.”

Source: Nikkei Asian Review

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