Huawei is looking towards South Asian countries including Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh, to claim victory in fifth-generation networks war. Pakistan, India and other South Asian countries are all aiming to bring 5G services to their countries in the second half of the next year. Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) last year introduced a draft framework with a plan to test 5G services in Pakistan through public trials in 2019.
Huawei which is already well-positioned in Pakistan and other South Asian countries, is making efforts to settle the concerns of Indian Government over the company’s perceived ties with the Chinese army. The US officials recently claimed that the Huawei company is a potential security threat and could be pre-owned by the Chinese government as a tool for spying.
A spokesperson for Huawei Southeast Asia told Nikkei Asian Review, “Go digital, not political, is a choice that serves the interests of all stakeholders”.
He also stated, “We will try our best to complete the trial for customers, and work together with industry partners to push forward the 5G ecosystem”.
South Asia is home to approximately one-quarter of the world’s population and the region is a potential gold mine for 5G equipment makers like Huawei. The mobile internet penetration rate in South Asia will likely increase by up to 61% by 2025. Huawei reported last week that they generated revenues worth $105 billion from South Asia in 2018.
The US is putting constant pressure on its allied countries to bar Huawei from its 5G networks, and it has begun to affect the company’s economic growth, and its carrier business declined to 1.3% last year.
But close links between Beijing and Islamabad will probably boost Huawei’s 5G ambitions in Pakistan. A senior official from PTA told Nikkei, “Huawei has already established a strong presence in the Pakistani market. This should give them an edge”.
Huawei says that it will bring economic opportunities worth $1.2 trillion to South Asia and Southeast Asia over the next five years. The company also stated, “The number of 5G subscribers will top 80 million, Internet traffic will grow by 5 times in total, more than 20 smart cities are on the way, and wireless, digital and intelligent equipment will improve social productivity by 4-8% on average”.
One major problem which the telecom service providers will face in Pakistan is to keep the tariff prices low enough to attract customers to use 5G services as the country is at the No.1 spot for cheapest mobile data rates.