Nokia, Ericsson and Huawei won’t supply Russia, could Belarus?
Huawei is preparing to leave Russia, according to a report in Russian media outlet Novye Isvestia. Meanwhile, the report comes in the same week that news portal BelTA reported that the Belarusian Communications and Informatization Minister, Konstantin Shulgan, has declared his country is ‘ready’ to deploy 5G technology.
Are the two events related? Both Nokia and Ericsson have out out statements claiming to have stopped selling telecoms equipment to Russia. Could Russia’s ally Belarus be used as a front for diverting telecoms equipment to Russia? Any Belarussian orders for 5G infrastructure have been a long in the planning and the products have been specified years previously, according to Shulgan. “We’ve been making preparations by arranging test areas where every mobile carrier had a go at 5G technology,” said Shulgan, “we saw how it erases boundaries between the city and the village in service provision.”
The state owned telco Beltelecom, MTS Belarus and Huawei have ‘arranged a test site’ in the Kopyl distric of Minsk Oblast. “This technology already allows for starting practical work in this direction because the effect of the 5G technology is dozens of times higher than that of the 4G technology,” said Shulgan.
In June last year, Belarus’ national infrastructure operator Belarusian Cloud Technologies (beCloud) announced the ramping up of its 5G test zones in the country, as it entered the second stage of widescale testing ahead of the commercial launch of the technology. Since 2020 it has been carrying out trials to explore the possibilities of 5G technology and determine the optimal scenarios for its implementation in Belarus. The tests were organised into frequencies in three bands: 2500MHz to 2570MHz, 2620MHz to 2690MHz and 3400MHz to 3800MHz. The auditing of these bands took place between May and December 2020, after which beCloud began verification of fifth-generation technologies in Minsk and Gomel.