US must not influence 5G auctions, says Brazilian politician

US must not influence 5G auctions, says Brazilian politician

The leader of Brazil’s lower house has called for the country’s 5G auction process to remain free of political influence following reports that the US could provide funding to operators if they avoided Chinese-made network equipment.

Head of the Chamber of Deputies Rodrigo Maia cautioned the country’s 5G auctions should be a fair competition, and that it was the duty of telecoms regulator Anatel to create auction policies that ensured this, rather than becoming a political pawn in a campaign against China.

Maia’s remarks are a response to reports that the US will offer financial support to operators in Brazil if they choose to use equipment from Nokia and Ericsson in their 5G networks, rather than Chinese kit made by Huawei and ZTE.

The US has been pressuring its allies to shun Chinese network equipment – and Huawei in particular – for some time, citing security concerns. Its efforts have met with limited success, so providing funding to its allies if they adopt this policy would represent an active shift in US strategy.

Currently most US allies have implemented measures to ensure that they are not overly reliant on any one vendor, but very few have outright banned operators from using network equipment from specific suppliers. Huawei has always denied that it has a relationship to the Chinese Communist Party, or that its equipment represents a security risk.

Brazil was originally due to hold its 5G spectrum auctions in March this year, but has delayed them due to the Covid-19 pandemic with a new date not yet decided.

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