Huawei's Future in India Depends on its Role in 5G

Huawei's Future in India Depends on its Role in 5G

Huawei has entered rough waters. After almost 20 years here, the company will find it challenging to participate in the upcoming BSNL 4G tender if sources close to the firm understand the signs from the government right.

It is not expected to get approval to commence trial runs with operators for 5G, for which it has already applied.

Huawei has invested almost $2 billion and spent nearly $200 million on its R & D center in Bengaluru, the biggest center outside China, where some core technologies are under development.

Supporting these expenses are 6,000 employees, out of which 4,000 are stationed in R & D alone, and 1,200 in India's global service center.

It sells mobile devices in India via two brands: the premium Huawei, which starts from over Rs 60,000, and the mass premium Honor, starting from Rs 10,000.

These phones were launched in India five years ago and have not set customers on fire. They are not even among the top five in terms of market share.

Notably, Huawei has been extremely successful in the 4G equipment space. With Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel as clients that are major telecom players in India, the company has rolled out pre-5G networks.

Before the entry of Jio, experts stated Huawei had about one-third of the 4G gear market. The rest was with Nokia and Ericsson.

But with the spectrum of 5G being blocked off to Huawei - as in the UK, US, and Japan - its scope for developing the telecom gear business in India will be critically hit.

Analysts mention Huawei will definitely stay because of its substantial R&D investment. It could also grow its mobile device business. But the deciding factor which will settle its future strategy and influence in India is whether it will have a role in 5G.

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