Huawei should be allowed 5G role in Italy, says minister

5G testing spot provided by China Telecom is seen in Chengdu downtown. Italy’s Telecom Italia is in the process of choosing suppliers and Huawei is among possible contenders. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 23 December 2019

Huawei should be allowed 5G role in Italy, says minister

  • Stefano Patuanelli’s remarks follow parliamentary committee’s move to block the company

ROME: Chinese telecoms firm Huawei should be allowed a role in Italy’s future 5G network, the Italian industry minister said on Sunday after an influential parliamentary committee called on Rome to block the company.

The US has lobbied Italy and other European allies to avoid using Huawei equipment in their next generation networks and to closely scrutinize rival ZTE, saying the companies could pose a security risk.

“We have passed legislation that guarantees national security. With the right defenses, the possibility of (Huawei’s) access is not up for debate,” Minister Stefano Patuanelli, part of the ruling 5-Star Movement, told La Stampa daily.

Last week, Italy’s parliamentary security committee Copasir said the government should consider preventing Huawei and ZTE from taking part in the development of 5G networks.

Italy’s biggest phone group Telecom Italia (TIM) is in the process of choosing suppliers to upgrade its network infrastructure and Huawei is among possible contenders.

Cabinet undersecretary Riccardo Fraccaro, also a 5-Star member, said on Friday that the government would not be able to ignore the opinion of Copasir. But Patuanelli said on Sunday that “Huawei offers the best solutions at the best prices.”

“One cannot fly the flag of the market with one hand and that of protectionism with the other,” he added. 

Huawei rejects the allegations that it poses a security threat. 

Last week, Telenor said it will use equipment from Huawei in building Norway’s 5G network.

State-controlled Telenor picked Sweden’s Ericsson to help roll out its fifth-generation (5G) telecoms network.

Huawei will continue to play a role in modernizing its infrastructure, Hanne Knudsen, Telenor vice president for communications, told Reuters.

“Ericsson has been introduced as a new vendor for 5G RAN, but we will also work with Huawei both to maintain the 4G network and also upgrade to 5G coverage in selected areas of Norway,” Knudsen said in response to written questions.

“Huawei has delivered hardware for RAN, but not for the core network. When they will build 5G in selected areas for the modernization, this is also for RAN, not core,” she said.

Telenor’s Finnish subsidiary DNA also uses Huawei as one of several vendors for 5G RAN, Knudsen said.

RAN, or radio access network, refers to the radios and antenna that connect smartphones to the mobile network, and accounts for the bulk of the cost of a new network. It is not the core.

Telenor is using Finnish company Nokia and Ericsson for building its core network.

Telenor Norway boss Petter-Boerre Furberg told Reuters that Huawei network components would be phased out over the next four to five years.


Lee’s death sparks hope for Samsung shake-up, dividends

Updated 26 October 2020

Lee’s death sparks hope for Samsung shake-up, dividends

  • Shares in the company and affiliates rise; around $9bn in tax estimated for stockholdings alone

SEOUL: Shares in Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and affiliates rose on Monday after the death a day earlier of Chairman Lee Kun-hee sparked hopes for stake sales, higher dividends and long-awaited restructuring, analysts said.

Investors are betting that the imperatives of maintaining Lee family control and paying inheritance tax — estimated at about 10 trillion won ($8.9 billion) for listed stockholdings alone — will be the catalyst for change, although analysts are divided on what form that change will take.

Shares in Samsung C&T and Samsung Life Insurance closed up 13.5 percent at a two-month high and 3.8 percent, respectively, while shares in Samsung SDS also rose. Samsung Electronics — the jewel in the group’s crown — finished 0.3 percent higher.

Son and heir apparent Jay Y. Lee has a 17.3 percent stake in Samsung C&T, the de facto holding firm, while the late Lee was the top shareholder of Samsung Life with 20.76 percent stake.

“The inheritance tax is outrageous, so family members might have no choice but to sell stakes in some non-core firms” such as Samsung Life, said NH Investment Securities analyst Kim Dong-yang.

“It may be likely for Samsung C&T to consider increasing dividends for the family to cover such a high inheritance tax,” KB Securities analyst Jeong Dong-ik said. Lee, 78, died on Sunday, six years after he was hospitalized due to heart attack in 2014. Since then, Samsung carried out a flurry of stake sales and restructuring to streamline the sprawling conglomerate and cement the junior Lee’s control.

Investors have long anticipated a further shake-up in the event of Lee’s death, hoping for gains from restructuring to strengthen de facto holding company Samsung C&T’s control of Samsung Electronics, such as Samsung C&T buying an affiliate’s stake in the tech giant.

“At this point, it is difficult to expect when Samsung Group will kick off with a restructuring process as Jay Y. Lee is still facing trials, making it difficult for the group’s management to begin organizational changes,” Jeong said.

Lee is in two trials for suspected accounting fraud and stock price manipulation, as well as for his role in a bribery scandal that triggered the impeachment of former South Korean President Park Geun-hye. The second trial resumed hearings on Monday.

Lee did not attend the trial on Monday, as Samsung executives joined other business and political leaders for the second day of funeral services for his father.