Bahrain to use Huawei in 5G rollout despite US warnings

Bahrain expects to be one of the first countries to make 5G available nationwide using Huawei equipment. (AFP)
Updated 26 March 2019
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Bahrain to use Huawei in 5G rollout despite US warnings

  • Washington has warned countries against using Chinese technology
  • ‘We have no concern at this stage as long as this technology is meeting our standards’

DUBAI: Bahrain plans to roll out a commercial 5G mobile network by June, partly using Huawei technology despite the United States’ concerns the Chinese telecom giant’s equipment could be used for spying.
Washington has warned countries against using Chinese technology, saying Huawei could be used by Beijing to spy on the West. China and Huawei have strongly rejected the allegations.
VIVA Bahrain, a subsidiary of Saudi Arabian state-controlled telecoms firm STC, last month signed an agreement to use Huawei products in its 5G network, one of several Gulf telecoms companies working with the Chinese company.
“We have no concern at this stage as long as this technology is meeting our standards,” Bahrain’s Telecommunications Minister Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed told Reuters on Tuesday when asked about US concerns over Huawei technology.
A senior State Department official said the US routinely urges allies and partners to consider the risks posed by vendors subject to extrajudicial or unchecked compulsion by foreign states.
The US Fifth Fleet uses its base in Bahrain, a Western-allied island state off the Saudi coast, to patrol several important shipping lanes, including near Iran.
Bahrain expects to be one of the first countries to make 5G available nationwide, Mohammed said, although he cautioned it would depend on handset and equipment availability.
Early movers like the United States, China, Japan and South Korea are just starting to roll out their 5G networks, but other regions, such as Europe, are still years away and the first 5G phones are only likely to be released in the second half of this year.
Bahrain’s state-controlled operator Batelco is working with Sweden’s Ericsson on its 5G network, while the country’s third telecoms group Zain Bahrain is yet to announce a technology provider.
No foreign company is restricted by the government from providing equipment for Bahrain’s 5G network, Mohammed said, adding mobile operators choose who they work with.
Australia and New Zealand have stopped operators using Huawei equipment in their networks but the European Union is expected to ignore US calls to ban the Chinese company, instead urging countries to share more data to tackle cybersecurity risks related to 5G networks.
Mohammed said the rollout of the 5G network was an “important milestone” for Bahrain, which is hoping investments in technology will help spur its economy, which was hit hard by a recent drop in oil prices.
“It is something we are proud to have,” he said.


Air France, Emirates maintain Cairo flights after British Air suspension

Updated 21 July 2019
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Air France, Emirates maintain Cairo flights after British Air suspension

  • British Airways, a unit of IAG, said it was suspending flights to Cairo for seven days “as a precaution”
  • Germany’s Lufthansa later said it had canceled its flights to Cairo from Munich and Frankfurt and would resume its connection

PARIS: Air France, Emirates and Etihad Airways are continuing to operate flights to Cairo after British Airways and Lufthansa suspended services to Egypt’s capital.
International Airlines Group’s British Airways suspended flights on Saturday for seven days “as a security precaution” as it reviews security at Cairo airport.
Germany’s Lufthansa later said it canceled services from Munich and Frankfurt to Cairo and would resume flights on Sunday.
“In liaison with the French authorities and the local authorities in Egypt, Air France has decided to maintain its service to Cairo,” a spokesman said in a statement sent to Reuters.
An Emirates spokeswoman said its flights were operating to schedule.
“We are closely assessing the situation and are in contact with the relevant aviation authorities with regards to our flight operations to Egypt,” the spokeswoman said.
The website for Abu Dhabi’s Etihad showed its services were also operating.
“Etihad Airways is monitoring the security situation in Cairo,” an airline spokesman said.