The Ayala-led management of Globe Telecom is steeling itself for an imminent United States ban on its 5G technology partner, Chinese telecom giant Huawei.
Globe general counsel Atty. Froilan Castelo said Globe was conscious of the impact of a US ban on Huawei (which provided 80 percent of Globe’s equipment with the balance accounted for by Ericsson and Nokia) and was preparing for this kind of situation.
The US has steadily tightened the noose on Huawei since last year due to security concerns that China was spying on its citizens through Huawei components and technology.
“We have already assured the US government, and the US Embassy, for that matter, that network security is our concern. We are primarily responsible for network security and Huawei is merely an equipment provider. And we are totally responsible for it. We have Israelis, Americans network security advisers for that matter who keep on auditing our network for any lapses or leakages in terms of security, your honor,” said said Castelo in reply to Senator Ralph Recto’s questions during a Senate hearing.
“Because of these developments coming in from the US and Europe, we’re coming up with a strategy for another network which is based on non-Chinese telco equipment providers. This is especially true, because our American and other Western corporate clients are doing the same, your honor. So we are right now in the process. But we have already in place, an alternate network,” he added.
Recto asked if Globe would have problems if it insisted on using Huawei equipment even after the US imposes a total ban on American companies selling chips to Huawei by October this year.
“Yes, it’s a (serious matter). We are coming up with negotiations with Huawei if there’s a point that they will be totally banned in the US, there will be some compensation and replacement of equipment for that matter, your honor,” said Castelo.
Castelo explained why Globe was dependent on Huawei, specifically for its 5G network expansion. “At 5G right now, the most advanced is still Huawei, and their counterparts are about, our estimate at about 1.5 years away. So 5G is very relevant to the Philippines because it is an archipelago, and we could provide better connectivity through wireless means, so that’s where we are. And we are in agreement with Huawei with respect to the provisioning of their equipment on 5G,” said Castelo.