UAE telco du has confirmed it will continue to work with Huawei, ignoring the security complaints and warnings passing across the Atlantic from the White House.
Speaking to Reuters this weekend, du CTO Saleem Albalooshi said the telco would continue to work with the under-fire vendor as 5G deployment plans gather pace.
“Huawei is our partner in rolling out our 5G network,” said Albalooshi. “From a security perspective, we have our own labs in the UAE, and we visit their labs, we have not seen any evidence that there are security holes specifically in 5G.”
Although it does not necessarily attract the same headlines as elsewhere, the 5G revolution has been gathering pace very quickly in the Middle-East, with du one of the most advanced telcos.
Alongside competitor Etisalat, du launched its 5G networks in June. And if eye watering download speeds weren’t enough to attract the interest of consumers, du also said it was giving away free Axon Pro10 handsets from ZTE for those who pre-registered to the service.
In making this statement, the UAE becomes the latest nation to defy demands from the US, risking the intelligence-sharing relationship in place between the two countries.
“Of course, this is definitely a concern, but such a thing is the government’s decision,” said Albalooshi. “We follow our government’s roads and we are governed by the regulator.”
This is becoming an increasingly common threat from the US, though it might find itself very isolated before too long. Although losing valuable intelligence from the US is a considerable threat, the same risk goes the opposite direction. If the US severs all the relationships it has promised, it will soon find itself missing a lot of insight.
To date, the threat has been directed towards the UK, Germany, India, certain states in Eastern Europe, and most recently, Italy.
The US is a powerful voice in the international political community, but perhaps it is not as influential as it believes. The number of countries who are choosing to ignore the requests of the US are starting to add up.