While Huawei is facing severe challenges over its 5G technology particularly from the US, the Chinese tech giant is forging ahead with its 5G programme in Africa.
Huawei has partnered with two South African universities to launch a free 5G course.
Aimed at postgraduates studying ICT at Wits University and the University of Pretoria, the course is part of Huawei’s ICT Talent Ecosystem programme. The program is a technology transfer one designed to equip South Africans with crucial skills and knowledge about important tech developments.
“As South Africa moves into the fourth industrial revolution, no one must be left behind,” said Kian Chen, Huawei Deputy CEO.
“Most future applications in the 4IR era will run in a 5G network and environment. That is why it is our privilege to start this 5G skills transfer in South Africa, and we are glad to partner with Wits and UP to offer South Africa’s first 5G training for ICT students,” said Chen.
5G has been the biggest topic as the world prepares for the fourth industrial revolution. For one thing, 5G is expected to be 100 times faster than current cellular connection and promises to be 10 times faster than current broadband connections. This connectivity benefit is expected to revolutionalise important innovations ranging from drone technology, virtual reality to self-driving technology.
But 5G is yet to be widespread. Particularly in Africa, 4G penetration is still quite low. Yet Huawei is betting on Africa to catch up with the technology soon.
As a matter of fact, Huawei is the world leader in 5G technology. The company has eclipsed even huge telcos like Sprint, T-Mobile, Qualcomm to develop 5G capability. But Huawei has come under serious challenge from countries such as members of the Five Eyes Alliance such as: the US, Australia, New Zealand, Britain and Canada.
Importantly, the US has designated Huawei as a threat to its national security, allegedly to distract it from its fast paced effort in the 5G race.
Two weeks ago, the Donald Trump led administration placed Huawei in its export ban list, effectively blocking the company from acquiring American components for its devices and equipment.
But the US has granted a three-months grace before the policy becomes effective.
Yet, Huawei is determined to continue its 5G work, thus its dive into Africa. The company is already one of the biggest suppliers of telecom equipment to Africa. Its partnership with the two South African universities affords it an opportunity to somewhat deepen local knowledge about the technology way before an official rollout.
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