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US-China Trade War: Can India Offset Huawei’s Global Losses Post US Ban?

India, with a stable technology scenario, is where Huawei has decided to place its maximum energies on

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US, China, Trade War, India, Huawei
Chinese telecom equipment major Huawei is frantically looking to salvage its prestige and fast cover the lost ground.. Pixabay

Sandwiched between the ongoing US-China trade war, Chinese telecom equipment major Huawei is frantically looking to salvage its prestige and fast cover the lost ground.

The company is bullish on shifting gears towards its India operations to revive its reputation as a reliable smartphone manufacturer and a 5G player.

With the digital-friendly Narendra Modi government back at the helm, it would be interesting to see what would be the reaction towards Huawei – without offending US President Donald Trump who is going after Huawei and its 5G dream.

India, with a stable technology scenario, is where Huawei has decided to place its maximum energies on – for both the devices and 5G technology segments where the US ban is set to make it bleed profusely in the coming quarters.

US, China, Trade War, India, Huawei
Unlike the headwinds it has been facing elsewhere, India remains a potentially positive hotspot for Huawei. Pixabay

Huawei predicts there would be the 2.8 billion 5G users by 2025, and looks seriously at India to offset losses it is going to incur in the wake of US ban.

“Unlike the headwinds it has been facing elsewhere, India remains a potentially positive hotspot for Huawei,” Prabhu Ram, Head, Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CMR, told IANS.

“Unlike 4G, 5G is a completely new terrain and India would need to test various use cases for 5G adoption in India. As such, it would need to depend on the capabilities of a variety of vendors, including Huawei,” Ram said.

Although India is targeting 2020 for 5G roll out, the country is yet to allocate 5G spectrum to operators even for 5G trial of use cases.

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“Huawei has been working with the Indian telecom players in the market to start 5G field trials. As such, I anticipate Huawei to be allowed to participate in the trials,” added Ram.

When it comes to 5G smartphones, an absence of a 5G-ready ecosystem in the country would hamper any manufacturer.

The situation at hand has dashed hopes of Indian consumers willing to acquire the just-released foldable phone Mate X from Huawei any time soon.

The company says it is not planning to bring a 4G version of the Mate X shortly and that its availability will depend on the 5G network in the country.

US, China, Trade War, India, Huawei
The company is bullish on shifting gears towards its India operations to revive its reputation as a reliable smartphone manufacturer. Pixabay

Huawei pipped Apple as the second largest smartphone seller in the first quarter of 2019 after Samsung. It clocked 17 per cent market share in the global smartphone market, according to Counterpoint Research.

“I think the situation, if escalated further, will make it challenging for Huawei irrespective of the country it operates in. China can only be an exception in the short term.

“The problems with supply chain and sourcing, especially at the operating system (OS) level, can have potential impact on Huawei in its global operations including in India,” Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Counterpoint Research, told IANS.

When it comes to smartphones, consumer sentiment in India towards Huawei will potentially continue to be ambivalent in the face of Android ban.

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“Huawei’s India smartphone business will see marginal to no impact in the short-term. From a long-term perspective, the Android ban may potentially have significant ramifications for Huawei devices,” suggested Ram. (IANS)

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US Sanctions on Cuba Deterring American Firms from Exploring Its Telecommunications Sector

It remains unclear how open it would be to U.S. investment in the strategic telecoms sector

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US, Cuba, American Firms
FILE - Cubans check their phones at an internet hotspot in Havana, Cuba, Aug. 10, 2018. VOA

U.S. sanctions on Cuba are deterring American firms from exploring its telecommunications sector even as Washington seeks to expand internet access on the Communist-run island, according to the final report of a U.S. government task force released on Tuesday.

Chinese companies dominate Cuba’s telecoms sector, a status quo “worth challenging given concerns that the Cuban government potentially obtains its censorship equipment from Chinese Internet infrastructure providers,” the report said.

Cuba’s government protested the U.S. State Department’s creation of a Cuba Internet Task Force last year as “foreign interference.” It remains unclear how open it would be to U.S. investment in the strategic telecoms sector.

“U.S. companies informed the subcommittees they are often deterred from entering the market due to uncertainty caused by frequent changes to U.S. regulations concerning Cuba,” according to the task force, convened last year by the State Department.

US, Cuba, American Firms
U.S. sanctions on Cuba are deterring American firms from exploring its telecommunications sector. Pixabay

U.S. presidents have successively tightened and loosened the decades-old U.S. trade embargo on Cuba imposed in the years after its 1959 revolution.

Former President Barack Obama created a loophole for U.S. telecommunications companies to provide certain services to Cuba. His successor, Donald Trump, maintained the loophole but tightened the broader sanctions, worsening the overall business climate.

Banks are increasingly reluctant to process payments originating in Cuba. Some telecoms firms surveyed by the task force said that was putting them off offering key services and products in the country.

The task force advised the U.S. government to clear up the regulatory uncertainty and seek feedback on how to improve telecoms firms’ ability to invest.

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Until 2013, the internet was largely available to the public in Cuba only at tourist hotels amid the U.S. embargo, lack of cash and concerns over the free flow of information.

The government has increased web access in recent years, installing a fiber-optic cable to Venezuela and introducing cyber cafes, Wi-Fi hot spots and mobile internet.

Cuban telecoms monopoly ETECSA signed a deal earlier this year with Alphabet’s Google on increasing connectivity, but the two have not publicly agreed on any significant investments. (VOA)