5G marked technological “war”

in News · 30-12-2019 10:00:00 · 0 Comments

The advent of 5G marked the technological 'war' between the United States and China and was a dominant theme in Portugal, with operators accusing Anacom of being responsible for delaying the entry of the fifth mobile generation.

The potential of new technology, which allows for faster data transmission in a world where all devices will be interconnected, promises to revolutionize the lives of businesses and consumers. But they also increase the risk of cyber attacks and possible espionage threats.

One of the companies considered to be better prepared for the advent of 5G (fifth generation) is the Chinese Huawei, which has invested heavily in the new technology.

However, the arrest of Huawei's chief financial officer, Wanzhou Meng, 46, daughter of the company's founder, at the beginning of December 2018 in Canada, at the request of the United States, put 5G technology at the centre of the global agenda, with Washington pressuring Europe to 'ban' the Chinese operator.

Arrested for allegedly violating sanctions imposed by the US authorities against Iran, from accusations of breach of sanctions to security issues through espionage, was a leap, opening an iron-fist between the United States and China.

Concerns escalated and the European Commission expressed concerns regarding the security of the networks provided by the Chinese company.

At the time, as now, Huawei has always defended its independence, saying it has never used its equipment to spy or sabotage communications in the countries where it is used.

Meanwhile, the topic was also on the agenda in Portugal, given that a year ago, on the occasion of the visit to Lisbon of Chinese President Xi Jinping, a memorandum of understanding was signed between Altice Portugal and Huawei, company that has been present in Portugal since 2004.

Last February, the chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Ajit Pai was in Portugal, where he met with the Portuguese authorities to express his concerns about the security issues of the 5G network, where Huawei is implicit.

"It's an honor to be in Portugal," a country that "is one of America's oldest allies," Ajit Pai said at the time, pointing out that for the FCC - Federal Communications Commission "5G is a top priority, as it is for the US Administration.”

In March, when asked about US 'pressure' on European countries, including Portugal, to ban Huawei, NOS President Miguel Almeida said that a possible decision by Europe on not allowing Huawei's 5G-based development would lead to a "delay of at least two years" in this regard.

But for now, operators Altice Portugal, NOS and Vodafone Portugal consider that the launch of 5G is delayed in the Portuguese market: this is not due to restrictions on Huawei's operations, but to the calendar presented by the National Communications Authority (Anacom).

Altice Portugal's CEO, Alexandre Fonseca, has been the one who has made the sharpest criticism of the regulator, pointing out that there are "almost irreparable delays" in the implementation of 5G due to the regulator's inaction.

But Alexandre Fonseca is joined by NOS CEO Miguel Almeida, who recently defended that "the country cannot be held hostage by an entity", such as Vodafone Portugal President Mario Vaz, who considered that 5G "is too important for it to be left free of the regulator alone."

The Government also shares that there is a certain delay, but nothing that cannot be resolved.

"There is a delay in the proceedings, but there is still no substantive delay," said Assistant Secretary of State and Communications, Alberto Souto de Miranda, at the Communications Congress on 21 November in Lisbon.

At the same event, but the day before, the chairman of the National Communications Authority (ANACOM), João Cadete de Matos, had stated that "there is no delay" in the preparatory work for 5G.

According to the indicative timetable proposed by Anacom, the start of the 5G licensing auction will take place in April of next year (2020), and its closure is scheduled for June, therefore the completion of the DUF allocation procedures ( frequency usage rights) will be between June and August.

The Government will approve "very soon" in the Council of Ministers strategic lines for the 5G.

While awaiting the strategic lines, operators are piloting the new technology, many of them in partnership with Huawei, which is committed to the implementation of 5G.

Europe is Huawei's largest market outside of China, out of a total of 50 licenses for 5G, 28 are for European operators.

More than commercial, the 'war' between the United States and China is, above all, technological. It's all because the new technology is revolutionary, disruptive, and those in the lead will 'earn points' in an increasingly interconnected world.


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