Huawei Willing To Licence 5G Tech To US Firm – Ren Zhengfei

The founder and CEO of Huawei Technologies, Ren Zhengfei, has said he is willing to licence the firm’s 5G technology to an American firm to allay US national security concerns.

He also confirmed that Huawei is is already producing 5G base stations that are free of US components, after it was placed on the US entity list in May this year after an executive order from US President Donald Trump.

That placement on the US entity list, cut off Huawei from using US components and technology such as Google Apps from its smartphone range or US silicon in its 5G base stations.

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei. Huawei

US technology

Ren Zhengfei was quoted by Reuters on Thursday as saying the company is already producing 5G base stations that are free of US components and plans to more than double production next year.

From October, the company will be producing 5,000 of the 5G mobile communications base stations per month, and next year it plans to make about 1.5 million stations, Zhengfei reportedly said during a forum.

“We carried out the testing in August and September, and from October on we will start scale production, at 5,000 units a month,” Zhengfei said. “So our production capacity this year will be 600,000 and we expect that figure to go up to 1.5 million next year.”

A Huawei executive told Reuters that the absence of US tech in Huawei’s base stations made them “no worse”, and the company “has had positive surprises”, although the executive declined to give details.

Zhengfei reportedly said Huawei would still like to use US components if possible because it has “emotional ties” with long-time US suppliers.

Earlier this month Zhengfei had offer full access to its 5G technology to Western firms.

Zhengfei had said in a media interview that in return for a one-time fee, he would grant the buyer “perpetual access to Huawei’s existing 5G patents, licences, code, technical blueprints and production know-how.”

But this week he has gone further, and Zhengfei said Huawei was willing to license its 5G mobile technology to a US company, and that he was not afraid of creating a rival by making Huawei’s technology available to competitors.

The offer could also include chip design know-how, he added.

No Norway ban

Meanwhile a Norwegian government minister has said that Norway does not plan to block China’s Huawei from building the country’s 5G telecoms network.

Cabinet minister Nikolai Astrup told Reuters that there would be no ban, a decision that could put Norway at odds with NATO ally the United States.

“That is not an option being discussed,” cabinet minister Nikolai Astrup said in an interview. “We have a good dialogue with the companies on security, and then it is up to the companies themselves to choose suppliers. We haven’t got any bans against any suppliers in Norway.”

Norway’s largest telecoms provider Telenor plans to pick 5G technology suppliers this year to prepare for commercial rollout in 2020.

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Tom Jowitt @TJowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

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