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Doubts Over Huawei’s Participation in India’s 5G Roll out Deepens

Spectrum for 5G is likely to be auctioned in October and the 5G High Level Forum envisages the technology to be deployed in the country by 2020

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FILE - A woman stands at the booth of Huawei featuring 5G technology at the PT Expo in Beijing, China, Sept. 28, 2018. VOA

Despite its willingness to sign a “no backdoor” policy with India, doubts over Huawei’s participation in India’s 5G roll out process deepened after a member of the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) flagged security as the primary concern during the roll out of the fifth generation cellular network.

With 20 per cent of all 5G patents in the world, Huawei has grabbed 50 commercial 5G contracts globally. But it came under the scanner due to allegations of spying on behalf of the Chinese government.

“When it comes to security, we cannot take any chances,” said NSAB member V. Kamakoti, without naming Huawei during a discussion on 5G in India at the Indian Council of World Affairs here on Wednesday.

Kamakoti, who is also a professor at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, pushed for indigenisation of technology to make the country secure in the 5G era.

However, during a question and answer session following his talk, officials from the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi, who were present at the event, pointed out that nobody has offered “concrete evidence” against Huawei.

“Risk is a risk whether it comes from A or B,” Kamakoti said, while adding that in case there remains a vulnerability in the hardware or software, it could be exploited by anybody.

“Huawei holds some of the very interesting patents around 5G. They have some leadership. We cannot undermine that,” the NSAB member said, even as he agreed that concrete evidence against Huawei was lacking.

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FILE – People stand next to a 5G logo during the Mobile World Congress wireless show, in Barcelona, Spain, Feb. 28, 2018. VOA

Huawei India Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jay Chen told IANS in June that the company was willing to sign a “no backdoor” agreement to ensure that its equipment could not be used for malicious purposes.

But China’s National Intelligence Law from 2017 basically requires organisations to give access to any data when demanded, according to Kamakoti.

“They may be right from their perspective of national security. But that recent law could be one of the reasons why people across the world are raising concerns about the security of Chinese equipment,” he said.

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But this is not the first time that security concerns about Huawei’s participation in India’s 5G roll out was raised.

In June, India’s Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that India has its security concerns over allowing Huawei to participate in the 5G network trial for 5G services.

The government has already formed a panel to decide whether to allow Huawei to participate in the 5G trials in the country.

Spectrum for 5G is likely to be auctioned in October and the 5G High Level Forum envisages the technology to be deployed in the country by 2020. (IANS)

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79% Smartphone Users in India Using Over-the-Top (OTT) Apps

The OTT platforms installed on the devices are in addition to the casual entertainment apps such as YouTube and UGC

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Hotstar is the most-penetrated OTT entertainment app with 49 per cent of smartphone users having it installed on their devices. Pixabay

Seventy-nine per cent smartphone users in India are using over-the-top (OTT) apps for entertainment and as many as four out of five users have at least one OTT entertainment platform on their device, a new report said on Thursday.

Hotstar is the most-penetrated OTT entertainment app with 49 per cent of smartphone users having it installed on their devices.

The OTT platforms installed on the devices are in addition to the casual entertainment apps such as YouTube and UGC (User Generated Content) platforms like TikTok and with such as penetration, OTT entertainment apps have become the ‘most-penetrated’ app category for smartphone users in India after social networking, chatting and e-commerce Apps, revealed the report by market research firm techARC.

“Over the past three years, we have seen a lot of enablement both from the smartphone OEMs as well as operators’ sides. This has facilitated the growth of OTT entertainment services as well as consumption.

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Seventy-nine per cent smartphone users in India are using over-the-top (OTT) apps for entertainment and as many as four out of five users have at least one OTT entertainment platform on their device. Pixabay

“While 4G has undoubtedly created this category, it has been complemented by the smartphone industry that has innovated to save every micron on the screen for full-screen viewing, backed by a powerful battery and stereophonic sound,” said Faisal Kawoosa, Founder and Chief Analyst, techARC.

One of the main factors for Hotstar’s growth has been its sports content, especially cricket.

Meanwhile, Amazon Prime Video has slightly better penetration than Netflix in India. Prime Video penetration is 15 per cent as compared to 13 per cent of Netflix.

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This is a result of Amazon’s close relationship with some smartphone OEMs where Amazon apps like Amazon Shopping and Amazon Prime Video come pre-loaded in the device. (IANS)