By Alexander Cornwell
DUBAI (Reuters) – United Arab Emirates telecoms company du <DU.DU> has discussed U.S. restrictions on Huawei with the Chinese company and believes they will not hamper its 5G network, its chief executive said on Wednesday.
American companies were banned in May from selling most U.S. parts and components to Huawei without special licences, raising concerns about the company’s supply chain.
Du uses Huawei equipment in its 5G network, but the UAE company’s chief executive, Osman Sultan, said it had discussed the matter with Huawei and it did not see “any issue”.
“We do not have a concern for the network deployment, for the use of Huawei equipment within the network,” Sultan told reporters on an earnings conference call.
Du, which is also using Nokia’s <NOKIA.HE> 5G technology, expects to have close to 800 active 5G mobile infrastructure sites by the end of the year.
The UAE is one of several Gulf Arab states, who are close partners of the United States, using Huawei 5G technology.
Washington says that the Chinese company’s technology could be exploited by Beijing for spying and has threatened to cut off intelligence-sharing with nations that use Huawei equipment. China and Huawei reject the claims.
“There are regular tests done, not only by us but as well by the authorities … and we never had any instruction or directive to stop the use of any of the Huawei equipment,” Sultan said.
The other telecoms company in the UAE, state-controlled Etisalat <ETISALAT.AD>, is using Huawei and Ericsson <ERICb.ST> 5G technology. It has not commented on the U.S.-Huawei issue.
U.S. officials have privately raised their concerns with Emirati counterparts, according to two sources familiar with the matter and a former American official, all of whom declined to be further identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.
The UAE, which shares intelligence with the United States and hosts U.S. soldiers, believes it can manage the risk, one of the sources said.
When asked by Reuters about U.S. claims that China could exploit the technology, the director general of the UAE federal Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, Hamad Obaid al-Mansouri, said “we have no information” and that other authorities were responsible for security.
(Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by David Goodman)