5G takes front act billing at Huawei's P30 series launch

Joel Guinto, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 27 2019 06:43 AM | Updated as of Mar 27 2019 06:36 PM

Richard Yu, CEO of the Huawei Consumer Business Group unveils the new Huawei P30 and P30 Pro smartphones during a launch event in Paris, France, March 26, 2019. Charles Platiau, Reuters

PARIS -- Executives from European carriers vouched for Huawei's 5G advantage at the start of the Chinese giant's global livestream where its newest iPhone killer was announced, in a subtle counterpoint to criticism from the US. 

The world is at a "turning point" in technology and Orange will "take a bet" on Huawei, said Yves Maitre, the company's executive vice president for partnerships. Vodafone sees "more success" with the Chinese firm, valued for its "openness," said group product and services director Stefano Parisse.

Less than a 30-minute drive at the Elysee Palace, French President Emmanuel Macron was set to host Chinese President Xi Jinping and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss Beijing's plan to build a new "silk road" for global trade. 

Huawei, the world's largest smartphone vendor and biggest supplier of telecommunications equipment has parried allegations its products serve as a backdoor for cyber spies while churning out products like the Mate X with a folding display and the P30 Pro with low light and zoom capabilities that can capture details of the lunar surface as seen from Earth. 

The Shenzhen-based giant's elusive founder, Ren Zhengfei, said in February that Huawei does not spy for China. His daughter, company CFO Meng Wanzhou, was arrested in Canada last December on the request of the US, which accused her of violating sanctions on Iran. Ren decried the detection as political harassment. 

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese President Xi Jinping leave following a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, March 26, 2019. Philippe Wojazer, Reuters

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in Manila last March that the world must keep its "eyes wide open" on alleged risks from using Huawei equipment. 

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Huawei is "very happy" with the refusal of European nations to ban its 5G equipment outright, said Merouane Debbah, Director of the Huawei Mathematical and Algorithmic Sciences Lab.

"They are seeing Huawei is an important player. We need to have Huawei in the game because the technology is good," he said. 

Huawei invested $2 billion on 5G since 2012, compared to $1 billion by Samsung and $600 million by the entire European continent, said Debbah, who works at a research and development facility in Paris.

While the infrastructure is made by Huawei, it should work with devices made by its rivals, even Samsung smartphones, he said

"It's not 5G of Huawei. It's a global standard," he told reporters covering the P30 series launch.

The Philippines' 2 dominant carriers, PLDT Inc and Globe Telecom, use Huawei products in their network infrastructure and are considering the Chinese company for their respective 5G rollouts. 

Huawei has announced at least one 5G smartphone, the Mate X that unfolds into a tablet. It also released a 5G chipset, the Balong 5000, and the 5G CPE Pro device.

Unlike upgrades of wireless networks in the past, 5G will deliver help connect cars, appliances, cargo and crop equipment on top of improved connection speeds.

5G's much faster speeds, vast data capacity and lower latency -- or response time -- are expected to underpin entirely new technologies such as self-driving cars and telemedicine -- which in turn may attract cyberintrusions by criminals or terrorists.

-- with reports from Agence France-Presse