Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Mittal on Thursday supported telecom network maker Huawei, saying its products were leading edge and superior to rivals.
Huawei is the # telecom network supplier in the world well ahead of Ericsson, Nokia, Cisco and ZTE.
Huawei is currently facing a ban on the supply of 5G network in the United States and several key markets in Europe.
China’s Huawei Technologies should be allowed to supply 5G telecom equipment to mobile operators though the US government has flagged security issues around the telecom gear maker, Sunil Mittal said at the India Economic Summit in Delhi.
The US asserted that its opposition to the Chinese company was not about protectionism but genuine security risks that go beyond the front end equipment, percolating to even areas like upgrades and maintenance, PTI reported.
United States, under the guidance of President Donald Trump, has blocked the supply of technology components and services from US-based companies to Huawei in order to block the growth of Huawei in global markets.
Sunil Mittal said the company over the last 10 or 12 years has become “extremely good” with its networking products. “I can safely say their products in 3G and 4G that we have experienced, are significantly superior to Ericsson and Nokia. I use all 3 of them,” Sunil Mittal said.
Sunil Mittal said he had been surprised by the Huawei’s technological edge. Sunil Mittal noted that the Chinese company had been able to take its products to a level where it was leading edge.
“The power consumption is a fraction of Europeans, the footprint is small if you have to put it on a tower, and they have powerful leading features…They are clearly leading edge. Now whether they compromised some American IPs I don’t know,” Sunil Mittal said.
The US has barred its companies from working with Huawei due to concerns over national security and intellectual property. India is yet to take a call on whether it intends to place curbs on Huawei or allow the firm to participate in 5G trials.
“India will take US’ advisory carefully,” Sunil Mittal said but added in the same breath that New Delhi will have to decide on its relationship with China.
“My view is that they should be in play. I really feel they should be in play. India must use this as leverage,” Sunil Mittal said.
“Unlike opening it to many other western companies, our country and then having very little leverage I would rather have this leverage today because it is an important part,” Sunil Mittal said.
US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross earlier rejected the notion that US’ concerns around Huawei were in anyway linked to advancing cause of American telecom players. “Notion that our views on Huawei are a function of US protectionism is incorrect,” Wilbur Ross said.
“The reason we are doing it…we think there are genuine security issues. 5G is different from 3G and 4G…In 3G and 4G, you are able to separate the peripheral from central part. In 5G that is not possible. In 5G if there is a penetration or back door, it will infiltrate the whole system. So proportionality of risk is very considerable,” Wilbur Ross said.