Huawei Rotating CEO hits out at lies, damned lies and “groundless suspicions” over security

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Huawei's CEO has criticised “groundless suspicions” about the security of its products at a Mobile World Congress media roundtable and at the US government's effective blacklisting of its products.

The Chinese manufacturer's smartphones and tablets are unavailable to buy in the United States and its government recently put pressure on the Australian authorities to restrict sales.

When asked about the impasse, Rotating CEO Ken Hu said such a view of the company was “unfair” and not based on “solid facts”.

“We welcome discussions, even debates based on facts,” Hu said. “If based on groundless suspicions it is not a constructive way to resolve the issue.”

The US has long publicly expressed concerns over what it claims are Huawei’s close links to the Chinese government, with US Congressional Representative Michael Conaway introducing a bill in January 2018 attempting to completely ban the use of the vendor’s products in the US government. None of the US's operators sell its devices.

But Hu, citing what he described as its role as a leader in 5G technological development, said Huawei was applying the highest standard of security protection when working on the standards in cooperation with telcos and governments.

He said concerns expressed over the vendor’s security were disregarding the Chinese vendor’s “strong track record”, saying that it had provided products and services for 400 telecoms operators over the past 30 years.

He also said that the industry was embracing a global value chain and the view that a company from China cannot be trusted would be problematic, since many components come from the country.

The Rotating CEO, who started in October and will hold the temporary position until the end of March, also discussed 5G in more detail, saying the vendor has already begun pre-commercial 5G projects with over 30 operators.

Contradicting the claims of Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri in his keynote yesterday that Europe was behind on 5G, Hu said the operator expected Europe to be in the first wave of 5G deployment, citing Telefónica, Vodafone and T-Mobile as companies it was working with in Europe.

While Hu noted that European operators were paying more attention to the use cases of 5G than counterparts in other regions, Peter Zhou, CMO of Huawei’s Wireless Network Product Line, added that European operators' strategy of focusing initially on evolved mobile broadband was the same as in other regions.

Overall, he said he expects 2018 to show “very positive progress” on the next generation technology.

The discussion followed Huawei launching on Sunday what it said was the first commercial terminal device supporting the latest 3GPP standard.

The customer premises equipment (CPE) uses Huawei’s own Balong 5G01 chip, potentially pitting it against chipmakers such as Qualcomm and Intel in the next generation of mobile networks.

It comes in two models, one operating in sub-6GHz spectrum and the other in mmWave bands, both offering download speeds of up to 2GBps.

Hu said at the roundtable that the CPE would be followed by a 5G smartphone next year.