Monaco rolls out Huawei-built 5G network in European first

Monaco on Tuesday became the first country in Europe to inaugurate a next-generation 5G mobile phone network based on technology from Chinese firm Huawei, which is seen by the US as a major security risk.

As mobile operators shift away from slower 3G and 4G networks, Europe has been torn over its approach to the Chinese giant, which is a pioneer in 5G technology.

Offering super-fast wireless access, 5G mobile networks offer much greater data transfer speeds.

In September, Monaco Telecom, which is owned by French billionaire Xavier Niel, signed an agreement with Huawei to make the tiny principality the first country in Europe fully covered by 5G.

“We are the first state to be entirely covered by a 5G network,” said Monaco Telecom president Etienne Franzi at the inauguration ceremony.

“In Monaco, the 5G is the promise of a better quality of life for all and exceptional opportunities,” added the principality’s head of digital transition Frederic Genta.

For Huawei vice president Guo Ping, the rollout in Monaco is a major opportunity despite the small size of territory covered.

“It allows us to make a shop window in a number of areas, notably linking 5G development to this intelligent state.

“It can serve as a model for other operators and states,” he added.

Controversial partner

Speaking to AFP in May, Monaco Telecom’s director general Martin Peronnet defended the decision to work with the Chinese supplier.

“There are many countries and operators that are in the process of finalising a 5G rollout with Huawei or who have already done so,” he said.

Ahead of the deployment, the operator worked to update its network equipment and deploy 5G-compatible antennae, stressing that it had put in place the necessary security measures to protect its systems.

Huawei’s involvement in the roll-out of 5G networks has become an increasingly political issue after Washington raised concerns over potential security risks and pushed its closest allies to reject the Chinese firm.

US intelligence agencies believe Huawei is backed by the Chinese military and that its equipment could provide Beijing’s intelligence services with a backdoor into the communications networks of rival countries.

Huawei has denied the claims, and so far, Washington has offered no evidence for its concerns.

The company says it has signed 50 contracts worldwide, including 28 with European operators, for 5G.

South Korea has already announced complete nationwide 5G coverage while in Europe smaller nations like Switzerland, Finland and Estonia have only just started deploying the technology.

Germany is only now handing out frequencies to operators and France should follow in the final quarter of the year.

In May, Washington moved to block Huawei from the US market and banned the export of US technology and materials to the firm in the latest salvo in a monumental economic showdown between the two superpowers.

Last month, an internal report by the GSM Association, which represents mobile network operators around the world, found that banning Huawei and fellow Chinese equipment maker ZTE from Europe’s 5G roll-out would cost European operators up to 55 billion euros ($62 billion).

It would also slow down the roll-out of 5G networks in Europe and lead to reduced take-up, which would further increase the productivity gap between the EU and the US, the report said.

© Agence France-Presse

Erwan Lucas
Biography coming soon. Search for author on Twitter: https://twitter.com/search?q=Erwan+Lucas&src=typed_query&f=user
Advertisting

Inquest into Neil Aggett’s death begins

The trade unionist was found hanged in his cell at the John Vorster Square police station in 1982

SANDF colonel accused of swindling colleagues in UN business scam

A senior soldier who is part of South Africa’s peacekeeping missions is accused by her colleagues of swindling them out of of hundreds of thousands of rands in a nonexistent business deal

Mass store and job cuts at Massmart

Changed market conditions and an appalling economy has hit low end cash-and-carry outlets

Courts to guide land expropriation

Two bits of law need to be approved before a court can decide if land owners will be compensated
Advertising

Press Releases

South Africans unsure of what to expect in 2020

Almost half (49%) of South Africans, 15 years and older, agree or strongly agree that they view 2020 with optimism.

KZN teacher educators jet off to Columbia University

A group of academics were selected as participants of the programme focused on PhD completion, mobility, supervision capacity development and the generation of high-impact research.

New-style star accretion bursts dazzle astronomers

Associate Professor James O Chibueze and Dr SP van den Heever are part of an international team of astronomers studying the G358-MM1 high-mass protostar.

2020 risk outlook: Use GRC to build resilience

GRC activities can be used profitably to develop an integrated risk picture and response, says ContinuitySA.

MTN voted best mobile network

An independent report found MTN to be the best mobile network in SA in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Is your tertiary institution is accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

Is your tertiary institution accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

VUT chancellor, Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi, dies

The university conferred the degree of Doctor of Science Honoris Causa on Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi for his outstanding leadership contributions to maths and science education development.