edotco signs MoU with Huawei despite recent security concerns
By Dzof Azmi December 6, 2018
- edotco made clear it is not beholden to any single provider or technology
- Huawei technologies were in line with edotco's business model
EDOTCO Malaysia and Huawei Technologies (Malaysia) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Nov 29, to offer new technologies while security questions around the China-based telecommunications company loomed in the background.
The signing ceremony was conducted against the backdrop of the New Zealand government's announcement not 24 hours earlier to block Huawei from supplying mobile network equipment to its 5G mobile network towers, citing that "a significant network security risk was identified".
Not a week after that, British telecommunications company BT also announced that they would remove Huawei equipment from its core 4G networks within two years. In a statement, the UK telecoms group has confirmed it is in the process of removing Huawei equipment from the key parts of its 3G and 4G networks to meet an existing internal policy not to have the Chinese firm at the centre of its infrastructure.
BT is applying these same principles to their current RFP (request for proposal) for 5G core infrastructure. As a result, Huawei have not been included in vendor selection for BT's 5G core.
(Edited to add the latest information at press time)
Their decision is believed to stem in part from the US government’s request that US allies, including New Zealand, not use Huawei technology. This statement followed the signing of the Defense Authorisation Act in August this year by President Trump that would, among other things, ban the use of Huawei technology by the US government and government contractors.
When asked how America's ban affected edotco's decision to partner with Huawei, edotco group chief regional officer Wan Zainal Adileen answered, "Until such time when we have been notified or otherwise, if there is no objection from regulator I think we should continue to work with whomever we believe that fits our technological requirements."
(The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission confirmed that there was currently no policy restricting the use or purchase of equipment made by Huawei.)
The point was made clear that edotco is not beholden to any single provider or technology, adding that “edotco works with a number of technology partners that best fits our needs and allows us to meet market demands.”
A Huawei spokesman later also reiterated: "As a leading global supplier of telecom equipment, we remain committed to developing trusted and secure solutions for our customers. Huawei's 5G equipment is already being deployed by major carriers around the world."
World's first multi-operator, multi-technology small cell
The technology highlighted on Nov 29 by Huawei was the company's LampShade product, which Wan Zainal Adileen called "the world's first multi-operator, multi-technology small cell", and added that his company will use this solution to help MNOs deliver indoor coverage for their networks more easily, targeting high-traffic indoor venues (such as shopping malls, hotels and conference centres).
LampShade is capable of supporting both 4G LTE and 5G NR (New Radio), and Wan Zainal was cognisant of the presence of Al-Ishasal Ishak, MCMC Chairman, in the audience when he commended the MCMC's recent launch of the National Fibre Connectivity Plan (NFCP).
He added that their solution will ensure that edotco will be "5G ready", adding, "It is in our aspiration to build shared connectivity for a sustainable future to provide sharable and agile infrastructure that helps to propel nations forward".
Wan Zainal explained further that the choice to partner with Huawei was because their technologies were in line with edotco's business model to cater for "multi-tenant and multi-technology" scenarios, allowing all MNOs to interact with their devices at all levels of maturity.
He also added that "Huawei have been very proactive and forefront about their technology eagerness to work together".