It’s not a new thing that Chines mobile firms like ZTE and Huawei are famous for helping the Chinese government to gather intelligence from around world, helped China to engage in intellectual property theft from leading companies, and the data that were being gathered by ZTE and Huwawei devices helped in Chinese hackers in breaking into important places. It’s a known thing now that ZTE and Huwawei devices are now banned in companies in US and other foreign countries. So what’s the state in Sri Lanka?
Today morning I came across this article at Groundviews, which in their post titled Are Chinese Telecoms acting as the ears for the Sri Lankan government? point out some of the facts that most people in the country don’t know about the connection between ZTE, Huwawei and Sri Lanka. As they point out :
- Both ZTE and Huawei have signed contracts worth tens of millions of US dollars with governments in Central Asia, not known for their democratic credentials.
- The telecoms products (like USB dongles) and possibly even services (including underlying network technologies and infrastructure) aid espionage.
- Major telecom providers in Sri Lanka have multi-million dollar contracts with ZTE and Huawei.
- In fact, the overwhelming majority of mobile broadband internet access devices sold in Sri Lanka by Mobitel, Dialog Axiata, Etisalat and Airtel are made by either ZTE or Huawei. Even I am using a Huwawei device which I bought from a Mobitel outlet.
- In June 2011, it was reported that “Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) has awarded a long-awaited LKR3 billion (USD 27 million) fibre-optic network rollout contract to China’s ZTE Corp as part of the national ‘i-Sri Lanka’ project”.
- Mobitel signed an agreement (May 2011) with the country’s Board of Investment for equipment import duty exemption on its LTE network deployment in partnership with another Chinese vendor, ZTE.
- Huawei maintains a 33% sector share of existing infrastructure maintenance.
Chinese firms continue to make inroads into the Sri Lankan market, including into areas such as telecommunications infrastructure. The Sri Lankan telecommunications market has expanded rapidly, and telephone companies plan to expand into the newly freed conflict areas of the North and East. Huawei Telecommunications, a Chinese owned corporation, has worked diligently to corner the telecommunications infrastructure market in Sri Lanka.
Huawei maintains a 33% sector share of existing infrastructure maintenance. Alcatel-Lucent and Ericcson are the two other major competitors, and each has a 33% sector share of existing infrastructure maintenance. Another Chinese company ZTE has a tiny 2% marker share. Huawei Sri Lanka is expanding aggressively into the new infrastructure market in the North and East, where they own more then 75% market share. Alcatel-Lucent and Ericcson are not major players in the new infrastructure market, and they seem disinterested in increasing their market share.