Indonesia cannot 'be paranoid' about curbing Huawei as telcos sign deals: minister

Indonesia cannot 'be paranoid' about curbing Huawei as telcos sign deals: minister

Tech giant facing intense scrutiny over ties with Beijing

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Indonesia "can't be paranoid" about curbing the use of Huawei's wireless technology over security concerns, as too many of its telecommunication companies are dependent on foreign equipment, communications minister Rudiantara told Reuters.

China's Huawei, the world's top producer of telecoms gear, has been facing intense scrutiny over its ties with Beijing and allegations of enabling state espionage, with the United States calling on its allies to bar the use of the firm's technology.

While no evidence has been produced and Huawei has denied the claims, the allegations have prompted several Western countries to restrict its access to their markets.

But this is in stark contrast to its operations in Southeast Asia, where in Thailand this month it launched a 5G test bed.

"Indonesia has 300 BTS (base transceiver stations) that use foreign technology. Huawei is quite significant here, so we can't be paranoid," Rudiantara told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of a technology event in Jakarta.

The minister, who like many Indonesians uses only one name, said his ministry would stay "alert" regarding the allegations that Huawei's equipment could be used by Beijing for spying.

State-controlled PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia, known as Telkom, said on Monday at the Mobile World Congress that it had agreed to a partnership with Huawei.

PT XL Axiata, another top Indonesian telecom operator, announced later that same day it had renewed for five years a network maintenance and equipment contract with the Chinese telecoms giant.

Telkom, XL Axiata and Huawei did not immediately respond to requests for comments on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Cindy Silviana & Fanny Potkin; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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