Operators and regulatory officials in Oman have backed Chinese tech giant, Huawei, to participate in the country’s 5G network rollout. Huawei has been a key player in delivering 4G connectivity to Omanis and will continue to be so as the country continues to roll out its next generation mobile networks.
Huawei has recently been under pressure from the US government, who continues to pressurise its European allies to ban Huawei from their network build outs, claiming that the Chinese tech giants network equipment is more easily hackable than that of its competitors – a claim that Huawei strongly refutes. The US government’s threats have largely been ignored by its allies in the west, with the UK, Germany and Sweden all recently giving Huawei the green light to continue their involvement in the country’s respective 5G drives.
Huawei has signed 77 5G launch deals with mobile network operators around the world, 12 of which are with operators in the Middle East.
On Wednesday, Oman’s Telecoms Regulatory Authority hosted a workshop to highlight the development of 5G connectivity in the Sultanate, showcasing strategies to leverage the latest technologies from around the world to spur national competitiveness in line with Oman’s Vision 2040 initiative.
At the event, the TRA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Huawei Tech, to deliver a range of pioneering 5G services in the country.
Speaking at the event in Muscat, a host of industry experts and government officials backed Huawei for 5G in the Sultanate.
“We don’t see any problem at all. We are an independent country and we will decide for ourselves what will serve us best,” Sulayem Alhakmani, head of the Economy Committee at Oman’s Shura Council.
Oman’s 6.5 million mobile subscribers are served by three mobile network operators, namely Omantel, Ooredoo Oman and the newly launched Vodafone Oman. Both Omantel and Ooredoo Oman have made extensive use of Huawei’s technology in their 5G network infrastructure.
“We use Huawei in the core and in the radio access network of our networks,” Ooredoo Oman’s CTIO, Ahmed Abdullah Al Abri, confirmed to CommsMEA.
Omantel began its 5G rollout in December 2019, and the company’s vice president of Enterprise, Baha Al Lawati said that there was no evidence whatsoever that Huawei’s network equipment was any less secure than that of its competitors.
“There has not been any concrete evidence against Huawei. A lot of European operators have already chosen Huawei for their 5G rollout programmes. A lot of these operators around the world have Huawei active in their 4G networks – before you decide to revamp your entire network and start from scratch, let’s think about that first,” he said.
The Chinese tech giant also received a vote of confidence from the TRA’s senior vice president for radio spectrum, Eng Yousuf Abdullah Al-Balushi, who said that Oman’s robust security legislation would give operators the freedom to make their own choices over which vendors they choose to work with.“Our telecoms legislation is very clear. Article 44 [outlines the] legal conditions which must be followed by the operators. It is up to the operators to decide how they wish to set up their networks – which vendor they choose to buy their kit from is up to them,” he said.