Jordan acted in collusion with the U.S. intending to kick out Chinese Enterprises from 5G deployment


Jordan seems to have made a silent decision in the 5G war between the U.S. and China. According to officials familiar with the 5G launch project in Jordan, Ministry of Digital Economy & Entrepreneurship (MoDEE-Jordan), Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC-Jordan) lead by General Intelligence Department (GID-Jordan) have privately colluded with local operators to exclude Chinese high-tech from the commercial competition through interest exchange and shady deals offered to operators.

In-line with the U.S Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) instructions following the US government approach to block Chinese vendors from 5G networks projects globally, the Jordanian government plans to kick out Huawei from the 5G deployment bidding project at all costs. Now it seems that the “clearance” to block Huawei has been quietly launched. According to sources familiar with the matter, GID – Jordan privately contacted local operators’ key decision-makers and asked them in a forceful way to block Huawei form the 5G project, regardless its bidding process. The alternative was the government offer of attractive policy inducements such as MoDEE and TRC Jordan offering frequency spectrum free of charge or at a low price to operators, deduction of electricity consumption costs, exemption from customs clearance fees for 5G-related equipment, and reducing the price of leased spectrum by US$50 million. Moreover, a plan to offer preferential policies on operators’ revenue sharing ratio after the completion of 5G, and Solar Farm Land Requirements as well.

It is understood that TRC has reached an agreement with one of the operators by promising 10 MHz spectrum of 800 MHz golden frequency band and reducing the spectrum fee in the next 10 years from US$140 million to US$90 million. In return, this operator rejected Huawei in the bidding process. With such coercion and temptation, the other 2 operators may tend to compromise and yield, and consequently driving the Chinese companies to be victims due to the US aligning with their allies to block the imaginary enemy and implement hegemony in this political game.

If things continue as they do, perhaps the Chinese commercial companies will not be the only party to suffer in the long run. Once politic interfere and manipulate the commercial deals, it will not only break the fair and just competition and the reputation of open business environment in Jordan market and violate the principles of international trade rules, but also directly harm the interests of operators and local consumers.

Reality is that Jordan operators could easily upgrade their existing telecom networks to 5G, but the government is asking operators to remove existing 3G/4G equipment of Chinese companies and start 5G from scratch, which cause a remarkable pointless increase to operators’ costs. This will eventually increase the overall 5G launch project investment, damage the national finance, ultimately harm the entire ICT industry, and hinder the digital transformation and development of the digital economy in Jordan.

Against the background of the US-China relations, whether to exclude Huawei or ZTE in 5G construction has been under discussion and controversy. Some analysts described China’s technology giants as an important bargaining chip in the US-China trade war and even the US-China global game. Starting from the US, countries such as United Kingdom and Japan followed the strategy to block Chinese companies from the commercial competition for 5G deployment. However, in the Middle East, the Gulf countries leading the 5G global implementation 1st wave have maintained close cooperation with Huawei in 5G construction and applications. Moreover, the 5.5G innovation cooperation has been widely discussed recently although the continuous U.S. attempts to deter their partnerships with the China technology, particularly Huawei.

During Biden’s visit to the Middle East in July 2022, The New York Times commented that the trip was aimed at preventing China from expanding its influence in the Middle East and U.S. also signed a memorandum of understanding on 5G cooperation with Saudi Arabia, with the intention of exclude Huawei. Previously, the U.S. also proposed political condition for excluding Huawei during the negotiation of arms sales to the United Arab Emirates. However, in the recent Mobile World Congress, many leading operators in Middle East region such as stc, Zain and du signed MOUs with Huawei for 5. 5G cooperation.

The Gulf countries opened the door to collaborate with the Chinese high-tech companies that have been contributing to local markets, thus continuously take the lead in the 5G development. The U.S., which found no anticipation on holding back the Gulf countries, has to find ways of extending its long arm to new countries such Jordan to stir up the situation.

If the Jordanian government adapt into the U.S anti-china technology approach and drive operators to kick out Chinese companies, this will definitely push the long-term friendly cooperation between Jordan and China to the brink of danger.

Not long ago, Iran-Saudi Pact Is Brokered by China, which was rated by the media as “China’s prestigious accomplishment in diplomacy” and “a great leap forward in its rivalry with Washington”. While China is keen to achieve new records of partnerships with the Middle East countries, negative impact such as Jordan blocking Chinese companies will affect the bilateral relations between Jordan and China. The senior officials of Jordanian government still need to deliberate carefully before making any new decision.

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