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Cutting out Huawei? Canada makes US$30 million deal with Nokia for 5G research

Ottawa announces grant to Finnish firm Nokia for 5G development in midst of national security review and row with Beijing

File Photo

File Photo (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – In the midst of a deepening political rift between Canada and China, ignited after the arrest of Huawei CFO, Meng Wanzhou, in December, Ottawa is set to announce a US$30 million (CAD$40 million) research grant to Finnish telecom giant Nokia on Friday, Jan. 25.

The grant will be for Nokia to research 5G network implementation in Canada. The deal was reportedly made in Davos, Switzerland on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum by Canada’s Federal Innovation Minister and Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri.

The news is sure to upset China’s Huawei, which is already at the center of a national security review in Canada to determine if the company is a suitable contractor to manage the implementation of Canada’s future wireless network.

Given the state of current political relations between China and Canada, and the deteriorating reputation of Huawei internationally, it is increasingly likely that the Canadian government will ban Huawei from involvement with its domestic telecommunications infrastructure.

Three of Canada’s top allies, and members of the “Five Eyes” Intelligence community, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States, have already banned Huawei from national 5G development projects.

Britain is also reportedly planning to block Huawei from central involvement in establishing its next-generation wireless network, according to Reuters.

Canada’s Financial Post reports that the country’s Federal Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, who are overseeing the security review, have claimed that the review is not specifically concerned with Huawei, but is analyzing how best to protect Canadian’s data and privacy.

According to a source involved in the security review, a decision on which companies will be contracted is still months away. Other companies may also be involved, with Nokia’s competitor, Ericsson, mentioned in some reports.

At the prospect of Canada’s likely rejection of Huawei’s involvement with the 5G network, China’s Ambassador to Canada, Lu Shaye, has warned the country of unspecified “repercussions.” Lu urged Ottawa to make a “wise decision” on the issue, reports Financial Times.

Updated : 2022-01-25 04:48 GMT+08:00