Monday, 26 October 2020

Russia puts Huawei in the driving seat for building high-tech superhighways

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Friday 09 October 20

Government-owned infrastructure company Avtodor has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Huawei to jointly develop connected roads

On Wednesday, Huawei signed a MoU with state infrastructure company Avtodor to cooperate on the creation of high-speed roads.    The deal potentially includes the deployment of ‘optical communication lines’ alongside roads, which will form the backbone for a network of autonomous vehicles. In addition, plans will be put in place to ensure that there is a stable mobile connection throughout the road network…

On Wednesday, Huawei signed a MoU with state infrastructure company Avtodor to cooperate on the creation of high-speed roads. 
 
The deal potentially includes the deployment of ‘optical communication lines’ alongside roads, which will form the backbone for a network of autonomous vehicles. In addition, plans will be put in place to ensure that there is a stable mobile connection throughout the road network. Some of these roads will be operated on a toll basis.
 
"The document was signed by Chairman of the Board of Avtodor State Company Vyacheslav Petushenko and General Director of Huawei Enterprise in the Eurasia region Xiao Haijun on behalf of Huawei Tech Company LLC," said the announcement.
 
The exact scale of this deal is unknown, but given the scale of the infrastructure involved, is likely to be a major financial boost for Huawei.
 
The Chinese vendor has found itself under increasing pressure from US sanctions over the past year, with disruption to its supply chain leading the company to begin to lose its grip on much of its European market. Today Proximus and Orange Belgium selected Nokia to replace Huawei for their 5G network, while neighbours France and Germany are also assuming measures that would see the Chinese company slowly removed from their national networks.
 
But Russia, naturally, is not one to be swayed by American overtures; in fact, measures by the US have only served to drive Huawei and Russia further together. Last year, Huawei announced plans to invest more than $10 million into its Russian operations, including spending $7.8 million to promote 5G in the country and train 10,000 specialists by 2025. Huawei was notably a key partner in launching Russia’s first 5G test zone in Moscow and is currently contracted with numerous operators to rollout 5G within the country. 
 
Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei said back in August that the increased US sanctions had led the vendor to transfer their US investments to Russia, including expanding their R&D team. As part of this process, Huawei’s Russian research team will join the development of their Harmony operating system, as the vendor moves to build a challenger to Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS systems.
 
While Huawei has not yet lost sight of its European ambitions, it is becoming increasingly clear that US sanctions are driving a long-term wedge between the US and Chinese tech communities. It will be hard for Huawei’s Harmony system to gain traction early on in the face of its well-established rivals, but Huawei is very serious about growing the platform. Right now, it plans for 100 million devices to run HarmonyOS, but it’s 600 million smartphone users could soon follow.
 
Regardless of its immediate value, China and Russia – the US’s largest cyber opponents – increasing their technological is surely something of a worry for Washington.  
 
 
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