INSS: Demand better conditions from US for playing ball vs China on 5G

The report points out that “the likelihood that Israeli 5G infrastructure will include Chinese technology is almost nil.”

Different types of 4G, 5G and data radio relay antennas for mobile phone networks are pictured on a relay mast operated by Vodafone in Berlin, Germany April 8, 2019. (photo credit: FABRIZIO BENSCH / REUTERS)
Different types of 4G, 5G and data radio relay antennas for mobile phone networks are pictured on a relay mast operated by Vodafone in Berlin, Germany April 8, 2019.
(photo credit: FABRIZIO BENSCH / REUTERS)
With US initiatives gaining steam to form a Western coalition that will avoid using Chinese 5G technology and instead develop alternatives, Israel can play an active role and contribute advanced technological capabilities, said a report by The Institute for National Security Studies on Tuesday.
“For Israel this is an opportunity to strengthen its political, security and economic ties in the West,” it said.
The INSS report explains:“Given that Israel, unlike other Western countries, is unlikely to use Chinese-made 5G infrastructure, it should strive to be recognized for this by the US, in order to balance rising tensions with the US about other issues, including Chinese investments in technology and infrastructure in Israel.”
Furthermore, the report stated that with the US having identified “Chinese bodies that are linked to China's security establishment or that are active in Iran, Israel should examine the activity of these companies within its territory and seek to reduce the risks entailed – be they clandestine security exports, indirect assistance to Iran,” or other tensions with the US.
Regarding the broader backdrop, the report explained that America is “intensifying its pressure on allies not to install Chinese 5G communications infrastructure and may punish those that ignore its warning.
“Huawei is at the center of political turmoil around the world, and some cellular providers have chosen Western alternatives rather than waiting for decisions by their governments about the use of Chinese technology,” added INSS.
The report points out that “the likelihood that Israeli 5G infrastructure will include Chinese technology is almost nil.”
On June 30, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) declared Huawei and ZTE threats to US national security.
Alongside this and other steps, the US State Department, together with the American think tank CSIS, published a document entitled “Clean Networks,” listing sample countries that used "safe" communications providers to set up their 5G networks. The countries include Latvia, Poland, the Czech Republic and Sweden.
A similar proposal by another American think tank that has “aroused interest is the establishment of the so-called D10 group of ten ‘leading democracies,’ including G7 members, alongside South Korea, India and Australia, which together would establish and develop alternatives to the equipment and technologies of Chinese companies in the 5G field.”

IN JULY, England’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) told Prime Minister Boris Johnson that US restrictions on Huawei preventing it from purchasing American technologies will probably force Huawei to use "unreliable" technology, constituting an information security threat.
INSS said that “the UK will take steps to stop the spread of Chinese infrastructure and remove it by the end of this year.”
England has turned on China in this arena both due to domestic pressure and pressure from the US that it would otherwise limit intelligence cooperation.
Still, the report said, given that Huawei has already recently installed several 5G antennas for each of the four cellular providers in the UK (Three, EE, Vodafone, and O2) – and that previous generations of cellular infrastructure have included components made by Huawei – the cost of removal of Huawei infrastructure could run as high as £6.8 billion ($8.5 billion).
There is also a debate in England about whether British academic research on technologies related to Huawei was tainted by being overwhelmingly funded by China, the institute said.
In June, the Chinese ambassador to the UK warned that blocking Huawei would lead to countermeasures by China.
In Canada, cellular service providers recently chose Western alternatives instead of waiting for a government decision on the use of Chinese technology.
For example, Telos and BCE – two leading Canadian cellular providers – joined Bell, announcing in June that they would use Ericsson and Nokia for their 5G infrastructure, said the report.
INSS said that, “Huawei also took another hit when a Canadian court refused to release its former CFO Meng Wanzhou from arrest on suspicion of circumventing US sanctions against Iran.”
These and other Canadian-Chinese disputes may make it easier for the Canadian government to forego Chinese involvement in its 5G networks.

DESPITE THESE setbacks, “Huawei continues to advance commercial contracts for building 5G infrastructure around the world,” said INSS.
Currently, INSS noted that Huawei has 91 commercial contracts, including 47 with European countries, while Ericsson has 97, and Nokia and the Chinese firm ZTE reported 74 and 46 contracts, respectively.
This is a mixed picture, but INSS said it shows that Huawei is losing ground since it led in contracts back in February – before the coronavirus changed much of the global perspective on China.
INSS said that Israel’s Communication Ministry closed its tender for cellular frequencies in early June with six cellular service providers applying in three groups: Partner with Hot Mobile; Cellcom with Golan Telecom and Xphone; and Pelephone.
Licenses are expected to be granted in September with infrastructure installation at the end of 2020.
The institute added that more than 25 companies in Israel are developing various 5G applications that “can be an important component for Israel to strengthen its technological ties with other Western countries.”
The report noted that the request by Hutchison Corp. of Hong Kong to receive a permit to control the Partner cell provider, after it regained controlling shares that had previously been purchased from it by businessman Haim Saban, is now being examined by the security establishment.
The INSS report was authored by Hiddai Segev, a research analyst who has contributed to a book and various think tanks on China-related issues.


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