5G infrastructure has presented a imbroglio for the US government – Given the Huawei issue, should it give in to China or risk staying behind in the connectivity race?
The country is slowly edging towards alternative solutions. US and Poland, on Monday, signed an agreement making high-level scrutiny of 5G equipment for foreign control necessary.
"Protecting these next-generation communications networks from disruption or manipulation and ensuring the privacy and individual liberties of the citizens of the United States, Poland, and other countries is of vital importance," a joint agreement states. The agreement was signed between US Vice President Mike Pence and Polish President Andrzej Duda, as accessed by The Wall Street Journal.
The move is, without naming it, aimed against China. Chinese company Huawei wants to sell its 5G wares throughout the world, but it has been repeatedly hauled up across the globe for spying under this cover. US has recently declared Huawei, symbolically, 'Persona Non Grata', and on President Donald Trump's direction, even Google had to sever ties with it.
But why of all countries, the US has chosen Poland to sign such an agreement? Shouldn't it have chosen a country like India, which is the second-biggest smartphone market in the world?
The reasons behind this are two-fold. Poland is home to a large Huawei market base. It also recently arrested a Chinese Huawei employee and a Polish security official on spying charges, bringing increased scrutiny on the company.
Secondly, the US cannot influence the India-China relationship. But, Poland may be able to give it a head start on where it wants to go – make the world suspicious of Chinese telecom equipment.
President Trump has repeatedly pursued Huawei. However, the company is yet to admit to any charges. Besides, the US hasn't been able to prove its case against the company, and the process seems more politically targeted.
However, Vice President Mike Pence feels that US' European allies should go with it on the matter. He believes that the agreement will 'set a vital example for Europe.'
The larger issue will not be targeting Chinese companies, but finding an alternative that works. The price and the production capacity of Chinese companies are yet to be matched by others.
Some alternatives are being worked out – Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson is investing in 5G infrastructure in Poland. But, it remains to be seen how it works out.