Chinese officials say that broadband development is the main prerequisite for ensuring Ukraine's digital economic growth. Credit: Handout.

Chinese telecom company Huawei is ready to provide the Ukrainian government with a draft plan for the development of broadband communications, Xinhua reported.

“We are ready to share our technologies and expertise in building broadband on a country scale,” Li Jian, president of the company’s European Area, said at the Huawei-initiated one-day Ukraine Digital Transformation Forum 2019 in Kiev.

Over the past three years, Huawei, in collaboration with local operators, has helped Ukraine move from 2G to 4G and increase its mobile broadband penetration from 8% to 65%, Li said.

“Ukraine still has great potential to increase broadband penetration and improve coverage in rural areas. If it is possible to increase mobile penetration from 65% to 85%, the country’s GDP (gross domestic product) will grow by 3%,” he said.

Li said that broadband development is the main prerequisite for ensuring Ukraine’s digital economic growth.

“We are ready to work closely with the government of Ukraine … to jointly create a digital platform, develop sectoral ecosystems and stimulate Ukraine’s socio-economic development,” he said.

Meanwhile, according to media reports, France will not follow the US and exclude China’s Huawei from its next-generation 5G network, but will have the power to vet all equipment makers for any potential security threat, a minister said.

French telecoms regulator Arcep kicked off the long-awaited sale of 5G spectrum on Thursday, ending months of intense debate between the country’s telecoms operators and authorities on how to best deploy the new ultra-fast mobile internet technology.

Alongside Huawei, which controls around 25% of the French wireless communications market, Nokia Oyj, Ericsson AB, and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. are also vying to build the country’s next-generation network.

According to Caixin Global, France’s decision to leave the door open to Huawei comes as Western governments wrestle with the extent to which they should allow the controversial Chinese company to supply gear for critical communications infrastructure.

In May, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order effectively banning Huawei from supplying equipment to American 5G networks, alleging that the Chinese government could potentially exploit Huawei-built infrastructure for espionage. The same month, Huawei was added to a trade blacklist curtailing its access to American suppliers, although the company has since received a number of limited reprieves.

Although Australia has also spurned Huawei’s 5G overtures, other countries have appeared reluctant to pursue a similarly hardline approach. The U.K., Canada, and New Zealand, which along with the US and Australia form an intelligence-sharing alliance known as the “Five Eyes,” have dithered in making a final decision on Huawei’s 5G involvement.

Last month, the German government announced it would not exclude Huawei from its 5G network, although that position was cast into fresh doubt on Saturday when the ruling Christian Democratic Union, in defiance of its open market-supporting leader Angela Merkel, approved a motion to debate Huawei’s role in parliament.

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