Business & Economy Singapore’s telco M1 won’t abandon Huawei

Singapore’s telco M1 won’t abandon Huawei

Vendor variety -- including Huawei -- is M1's current business strategy.

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On Tuesday (May 28), M1 said that it will stand by Huawei for now, although it also said that it will have alternative providers while operators are looking to build out 5G networks, according to a report from Bloomberg.

M1 is now controlled by Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. and by Keppel Corp.

The US claims that Huawei is connected to global espionage by the Chinese government, and US President Donald Trump’s blacklist announcement means that the company will no longer be able to avail of both hardware and software from the US necessary for assembling Huawei products.

The move from Mr Trump has added another dimension to the already tense trade war between the two biggest global economies and has caused telcos in many countries to choose if they would follow suit.

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M1’s chief executive officer Manjot Singh Mann said that the telco will keep on using Huawei products as long as it makes commercial sense.

He added that since several companies are developing this technology, 5G services would be “vendor agnostic.”

Despite the US’ aversion to Huawei, it is up to telcos in Singapore to decide on the sourcing of their telecommunications equipment.

Mr Mann, who was recently appointed as M1’s CEO, had discussed his four points of his business plan on Tuesday when he had presented a briefing to map out M1’s priorities in the next few years.

The new CEO said he would be concentrating on cost-cutting and recognizing benefits with Keppel.

He said, “There is a good opportunity for us to partner,” giving examples of joint ventures as well as connectivity, data centers, the Internet of Things and cost management.

Singapore’s strong ties with China can be seen in an announcement from the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) who had said earlier this month that technology from Huawei will not be blocked in the nation’s 5G network.

Furthermore, IMDA emphasised that it wants to encourage a diversity of vendors in the country’s telco systems in order to “mitigate risks from dependency” on one particular company.

Despite also having strong ties with the US, Singapore has not followed Mr Trump’s lead in the Huawei blacklist even though tech giants such as Microsoft and Google have already broken ties with Huawei.

China’s tech giant, however, has said that it is intensifying preparations to develop its own hardware and software, and will be serving the US government with a lawsuit for the blacklist, which it deems “unconstitutional.”

M1 has gotten into trouble of late, when its fibre broadband was disrupted on May 22, due to a fibre cable outage involving fibre operator Netlink Trust which occurred on May 21.

Thousands of customers took to social media to air their grievances against M1./ TISG

Read related: Thousands affected in second M1 fibre broadband disruption in the past two days

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