China

China faces setback in 5G ambitions as coronavirus leads to delays in base station installations

An illuminated 5G logo is displayed during the 10th Global mobile broadband forum hosted by Chinese tech giant Huawei in Zurich on October 15, 2019. Photo: AFP

China’s plan to be a 5G front-runner is facing a potential setback as the country’s fight against the spread of the coronavirus has led to delays in installing base stations that enable coverage of the next-generation network.

The Beijing subsidiary of China Mobile said it has postponed installations of base stations due to the outbreak, according to a local report by Chinese newspaper Economic Observer on Tuesday.

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China to France: Don’t discriminate against Huawei on 5G networks

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China’s Huawei, a global giant in telecoms network equipment, is the center of an international political storm as the United States seeks to convince countries to ban the company from their mobile networks. Washington says its technology could allow “back doors” for Chinese spying – an allegation denied by Huawei and Beijing.

France is in the early stages of rolling out its next-generation wireless technology, and the government’s stance over Huawei’s possible role still lacks clarity, according to some telecoms industry trade bodies. Some French media outlets have reported in recent months that the company could face restrictions in several cities. read more

ZTE and China Telecom enabled the first remote diagnosis of coronavirus via a 5G telehealth system

Chinese networking equipment maker ZTE and network operator China Telecom facilitated China’s first remote diagnosis of the deadly coronavirus using a 5G network. For context, coronavirus has reportedly infected at least 2,700 people and caused at least 80 deaths in the country since the outbreak was first reported in late December.

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ZTE supplied, installed, and optimized both outdoor and indoor 5G networking and other communications equipment for the West China Hospital of Sichuan University. read more

China Isn’t the Only Problem With 5G

A bidder wears a tie depicting a ringing mobile phone prior to the start of Germany’s auction for the construction of an ultra-fast 5G mobile network in Mainz on March 19, 2019.

The security risks inherent in Chinese-made 5G networking equipment are easy to understand. Because the companies that make the equipment are subservient to the Chinese government, they could be forced to include backdoors in the hardware or software to give Beijing remote access. Eavesdropping is also a risk, although efforts to listen in would almost certainly be detectable. More insidious is the possibility that Beijing could use its access to degrade or disrupt communications services in the event of a larger geopolitical conflict. Since the internet, especially the “internet of things,” is expected to rely heavily on 5G infrastructure, potential Chinese infiltration is a serious national security threat. read more

U.K. Defies U.S. Warnings, Will Allow China’s Huawei to Build Its 5G Network

A phone being held up to photograph 5G signage.

The U.K. announced Tuesday that it will allow Chinese tech firm Huawei to continue to help build the country’s 5G wireless network despite heavy pressure from the Trump administration to bar the company on national security grounds. Huawei’s ties to the Chinese government have caused concern among American lawmakers who see the company as ultimately controlled by Beijing, making it a potential state security threat. Despite classifying the company a “high-risk vendor,” the British government said it would go ahead using Huawei equipment, but with some restrictions. The company’s products will not be allowed to be used in the network’s core, the most sensitive portion of the telecommunications grid. It will also limit the use of Huawei equipment in the network’s periphery to 35 percent of the system. The Chinese products will also be barred from use near sensitive sites, such as military bases and nuclear sites. read more

5G Is Where China and the West Finally Diverge

The rollout of fifth-generation cellular networks around the world will likely be a defining geopolitical dilemma of 2020. But American and European consumers could easily mistake 5G for just another marketing ploy for early adopters—to the detriment of democracies worldwide.

When the number in the corner of our smartphone screens changed from 3G to 4G, few of us even noticed. Ditto when LTE, another step in the evolution of cellular networks, appeared as an alternative to 4G. Still, for the better part of the past two years, wireless carriers on both sides of the Atlantic have been hyping 5G—which, they promise, will offer data speeds of up to 100 times faster than current connections. Tech futurists say fifth-generation networks will support a plethora of internet-connected sensors, vehicles, appliances, and other devices that will perform functions yet unimagined. read more

China’s 5G dominance could lead to a ‘dangerous’ internet split with the US, Donald Trump’s FCC chief warns

Ajit Pai believes that letting Chinese equipment into 5G wireless networks in the US “would open the door to censorship, surveillance, espionage and other harms”. Photo: BloombergChina’s prominence in next-generation 5G wireless technology not only threatens US security but could lead to a “dangerous” US-China internet split, the chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission has said.

“You don’t need to look hard to find evidence that the Chinese government is willing and able to use its growing influence in global commerce to advance its own interest,” Ajit Pai said at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in New York on Tuesday.

Echoing a growing US concern, he said he worries “that the end result [of China’s technological advances] is essentially to create two different internets”, with a version built by the Chinese government being heavily censored. read more

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