Globe not cutting ties with Chinese tech giant Huawei

Ian Nicolas Cigaral - Philstar.com
Globe not cutting ties with Chinese tech giant Huawei
This file photo shows a cell tower.

MANILA, Philippines — Globe Telecom Inc. won't abandon its partnership with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. despite growing unease about Chinese tech firms among Western nations, saying the equipment from the tech giant is crucial to the telecommunications giant's network expansion plans.

At Thursday's hearing of the House Committee on Economic Affairs, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, chairman and chief executive of Globe's parent Ayala Corp., said Huawei played an important role in "successfully expanding our network." 

Last year, Globe launched Southeast Asia’s first 5G broadband service that is backed by equipment from Huawei in a bid to cement its market grip ahead of the arrival of third telco player Dito Telecommunity, which is partly owned by state-controlled China Telecom.

"On the issue of 5G, before Huawei became a controversial name we've had an excellent relationship with them as a supplier of extraordinary telecommunication products. We tied up with them before it became a household word," Ayala said.

"I do think they are a leader in 5G technology and we should be allowed to use their facilities. I think we will be a couple of years ahead of everybody else if we do so and we intend to do so," he added.

The United States, a treaty ally of the Philippines, has repeatedly warned allies against using products of Huawei, which the Western superpower accused of espionage and stealing trade secrets. 

They were laid amid heightened US-China trade tensions and efforts by Washington to keep Huawei from obtaining contracts for 5G, or fifth-generation wireless networks. The Chinese government denies these allegations.

That pressure has had mixed results, however, with the EU in January limiting its exposure to "high risk" suppliers of 5G equipment when building next-generation mobile networks, but stopping short of banning any one vendor outright.

Apart from the Ayala-led telco company, Manuel V. Panglinan-controlled PLDT Inc. has also tapped Huawei for its 5G rollout, originally scheduled to happen this year until company officials deferred the launch amid supply disruptions due to the coronavirus pandemic. — with AFP

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