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Globe stands firm on Huawei partnership

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WOMEN walk past a Huawei P30 ad at a shopping center in Bangkok, Thailand on Wednesday. — REUTERS

By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter

GLOBE TELECOM, Inc. said it will continue to partner with Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., including on the establishment of a fifth-generation (5G) network in the country, despite the United States placing the Chinese tech giant on a trade blacklist last week.

Ernest L. Cu, president and chief executive officer of the Ayala-led telecommunications giant, said Thursday the company will continue its existing tie-ups with Huawei, noting the 5G network is scheduled to launch next month.

“For us, given the fact that we have an extremely great relationship with Huawei for the last 10 years… We have a lot of information, they gave us pre-warnings… and assurance that they will be independent of the US in the near future,” he said at the Bloomberg Industry 4.0 forum in Taguig City.

“We have a very extensive spending program this year, P63 billion capex. Majority of that will be Huawei equipment. And of course, our best-selling phones are Huawei phones. So we continue to support them,” he added.

Globe and rival PLDT, Inc. announced Monday they are working with Huawei to address customer concerns as Alphabet, Inc.’s Google is suspending ties with the Chinese tech firm amid the US-China trade war.




Google earlier said it will comply with the US government’s order to stop supplying Huawei phones with updates to its Android operating system. Reuters reported on Tuesday that the US Commerce department granted Huawei a license to buy US goods until Aug. 19 to keep its existing telecoms networks and provide software updates to Huawei smartphones.

Mr. Cu told reporters he believes Huawei is “really pretty much independent,” and Globe will continue to engage with the technology provider not just for 5G, but also in selling its mobile handsets.

“We’ve been assured by both Google and Huawei that the current handsets that have already been licensed by Google, already in production in market, will be safe,” he said.

However, Mr. Cu said once the new Huawei models come out, the company will “have to see and decide whether we carry the line or not,” as the new ones would no longer have access to Google services.

Mr. Cu said for the 5G launch in June, the company is likely to stick with the current setup where majority of the technology it will use for rolling out will be sourced from Huawei.

“In a level playing field, and without any of these external situations…they’re about a year and half ahead in terms of technology,” he said.

In a separate statement, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said the issues surrounding Huawei should be no cause for concern, as local telcos are mandated to keep a close watch of their network.

“On matters of cybersecurity, the incumbent telcos are to this day still strictly monitoring their network and up to now there was no incident of a national security breach from their respective network predominantly using Huawei equipment,” it said.

It added that the DICT “has the tools to protect our cyberspace from any threats to our national security.”

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