UK Goes To Japan For 5G Alternatives

Anil Prabha

August 6, 2020

According to the Nikkei publication, the British government has asked Japan to help build its 5G wireless networks without Huawei Technologies. The Reuters also reported this recently as well, and this just marks another chapter in the global technology and security war between United States and China.

Apparently, the word is that NEC Corp and Fujistu are the front runners in the race. It seems that British officials met with their Japanese representatives in  Tokyo. It just came after the order for Huawei equipment to be purged from UK networks by the end of 2027.

The backdrop of all this chaos is also framed by the fact that the UK is planning to leave the European Union, and Prime Minister Johnson is also caught in the middle of a Cold War between US and China.

At the end of the day, billions of dollars in investments are up in the air, and the potential for the UK to be in the ‘slow lane’ as the result of these delays to its eventual 5G rollout remains a distinct possibility.

It has been reported before that the ban would delay rollout in the UK by at least two to three years and increase costs for phone companies by at least USD$2.5 billion.

In a related development, Japan is aiming to invite Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd or other global chip-makers to build an advanced chip manufacturing plant jointly with domestic chip equipment suppliers, as reported by the Yomiuri daily.

The publication believes that the Japanese government is hoping to tap the expertise of global chip-makers to rejuvenate the lagging domestic chip industry as advanced chip technologies have become a focal point in national security issues.

It seems that the Japanese government is planning to offer several billion dollars over multiple years to overseas chip makers to join the project.

The report may be quite speculative in nature as a TSMC spokesperson denied that there was such a plan at the moment, but the company did not rule out future plans in this regard.

According to Reuters, TSMC, the world’s largest contract chipmaker, in May, unveiled plans for a $12 billion plant in the United State in an apparent win for the Trump administration’s efforts to wrestle global technology supply chains back from China.

The Nikkei also reported recently that Singapore has also decided to partner with European makers for high-speed internet infrastructure. SingTel and StarHub have chosen to go with Sweden’s Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia, respectively, for their 5G networks.

The implications are huge for a vendor like Huawei, as companies and individuals are using the internet even more for remote work, education, e-commerce, and video streaming due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In South East Asia, telecom operators are gearing to launch 5G services as the current need for industrial and commercial high speed internet services becomes more acute.

The main draw for Huawei, is that its equipment is roughly 30 percent cheaper that Ericsson and Nokia equipment. Speaking to the publication, a research associate from Frost & Sullivan, said that Singapore’s decision will have little to no impact on Huawei’s global 5G race.

Sources: Reuters, and Nikkei.

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About the author
Anil Prabha

Editor In Chief

Anil started his career in journalism all the way back in 2003. After traversing the sphere of editorial, corporate communications and advertising, he has now come full circle and is back in the world of journalism. He believes in the power of the written word, and its ability to enthrall, delight and inform the reader.

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