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DR | Nov 24, 2020

Dom Rep bans Huawei from building out its 5G network

/ Our Today

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Dominican Republic has banned Chinese telecoms giant Huawei from building out its fifth generation (5G) mobile networks, apparently bowing to pressure from the United States.

5G enables a new kind of network that is designed to connect virtually everyone and everything together, including machines, objects, and devices. As a result of the ban, Huawei, which it was widely believed would have got the nod to build out the Dominican Republic’s 5G network, has been disallowed from continuing with its upgrade of the country’s telecom network.

The move comes just over a month after the American government issued a stern warning to Jamaica regarding any contemplation of the Andrew Holness administration using a Chinese firm to build out Jamaica’s 5G network. With the ban on Huawei now in place, it is not known who will assist the Caribbean territory in building its new generation telecoms network in the absence of the Chinese telecom.

Donald Tapia, United States ambassador to Jamaica

US Ambassador to Jamaica Donald Tapia had declared that any decision by Jamaica to engage China or a Chinese firm poses several risks to the island, particularly to the financial sector. While advancing his preference that Jamaica go with other models of 5G architecture, Tapia made known that the island’s financial sector would be hit hard if the Holness government engaged 5G technology from a Chinese source.

BAN COINCIDES WITH AMERICAN ENVOY’S OFFICIAL VISIT

The announcement of the ban on Huawei coincides with the arrival of Keith Krach, US Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment, who is touring Latin America as part of the ‘Clean Network’ initiative. The ‘Clean Network’ initiative is designed to keep Huawei out of the telecom markets in liberal democracies.

Keith Krach, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment. (Photo: ChiefExecutive.net)

The Dominican Republic is set to auction 5G spectrum early next year and will be the second nation in the Latin America and the Caribbean to award 5G radio waves. Chile is the first to have done so.

Many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are heavily dependent on the Chinese firm to build their 5G network but the American government is swaying these countries to use alternative 5G suppliers not from China, arguing that suppliers such as Ericsson in Sweden, Nokia in Finland, and Samsung in South Korea can offer 5G networks comparable with Chinese suppliers.

Commenting on the ban, Luis Abinader, president of the Dominican Republic, declared: “Our position on foreign policy is to be on the side of a strategic alliance with the United States.”

Luis Abinader, president of the Dominican Republic. (Photo: Facebook @LuisAbinaderCorona)

Earlier, Abinader advised that his government wanted to develop a deployment plan for 5G technology and broadband that is unprecedented in the country’s history, a level leap towards hyper-connectivity that would change the future of the Dominican Republic

BRAZIL MIGHT TOE THE LINE WITH THE US

It has been reported that Brazil might also opt to follow the Dominican Republic in not going with Huawei for the building out of its 5G network. Brazil was one of the stops Krach made on his Latin American tousssssr.

Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro government has reportedly eased America’s concerns that the country would go with China with its 5G build out.

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