DUBAI (Reuters) – Bahrain, the headquarters of the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, plans for the roll-out of a commercial 5G mobile network by June, also with the help of Huawei technology, despite the United States’ concerns the Chinese telecom giant, the equipment can be used for espionage.
FILE PHOTO: the Logo of Huawei is pictured outside the store in Beijing, China, February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo
Washington has warned countries against the use of Chinese technology, saying Huawei can be used by Beijing to spy on the West. China rejects the accusations.
VIVA Bahrain, a subsidiary of the Saudi arabian state-controlled telecom STC, last month signed an agreement with Huawei products in the 5G network, one of the many Gulf telecom companies working with the Chinese company.
“We have no interest in this phase as long as this technology is meeting our standards,” Bahrain Telecommunications Minister Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed told Reuters on Tuesday on the question about the U.S. concerns about Huawei technology.
The U.S. embassy in Bahrain does not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The U.S. Fifth Fleet makes use of the base in Bahrain, a Western-allied island nation off the Saudi coast, to patrol in a number of major shipping lanes, such as in the vicinity of Iran.
Bahrain is expected that one of the first countries to make 5G available nationwide, Mohammed said, though he warned that it would depend on the handset of your equipment.
Early movers such as the United States, China, Japan and South Korea have just begun to roll out their 5G networks, but also other regions, such as Europe, still far away and the first 5G phones are only likely to be released in the second half of this year.
Bahrain’s state-controlled operator Batelco is working with the Swedish Ericsson on its 5G network, while the country’s third telecom Zain Bahrain is yet to announce a technology provider.
No foreign company is limited by the government of the supply of equipment for Bahrain 5G network, Mohammed said, adding that the mobile operators chose who they worked for.
Australia and New Zealand have stopped operators using Huawei equipment in their networks, but the European Union will continue to ignore US calls to ban the Chinese company, instead urging countries to be more data to address cybersecurity risks in related to 5G networks.
Mohammed said that the rollout of the 5G network a “significant milestone” for Bahrain, that is the hope of investment in technology will help stimulate the economy, which was hit hard by the decline of the oil prices.
“It’s something we can be proud of,” he said.
Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Kirsten Donovan