October 12, 2019

Why Huawei Isn’t So Scary

By Elsa B. Kania and Lindsey R. Sheppard

5G may have become a buzzword, but the notion that countries must rush to be first to deploy it is mistaken and reckless—and increases the odds of security breaches. There’s no doubt that 5G is important, promising the high speeds and unparalleled connectivity that are required to unleash the full potential of the “internet of things”—the ever-growing network of web-connected devices—and artificial intelligence. 5G could prove critical to economic competitiveness, but not only will a race to install the system end up backfiring, there is also reason to think twice about the claims of China’s Huawei that it alone can shape our technological future.

Huawei’s marketing—and Chinese government propaganda—has built the impression that it’s either Huawei or no way to 5G. The telecommunications firm declares itself the unparalleled leader in 5G as it attempts to secure commercial partnerships around the world, now boasting more than 50 contracts across some 30 countries. In Europe, Huawei has even launched a campaign urging residents to “Vote for 5G,” as if its 5G technologies were the only way for Europe to achieve a smarter future.

Huawei’s claims to be No. 1 in 5G can be misleading. Huawei is a leader and a powerhouse, but it is not the only top player. And it isn’t clear that the company is winning—at least, not yet. Although Huawei’s technological capabilities shouldn’t be underestimated, there are reasons to look skeptically at its supposed superiority in 5G.

Read the full article in Foreign Policy.

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