(Adds details from sources)
BRASILIA, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Brazil’s federal government is planning to commission a fifth-generation (5G) wireless network exclusively for its own use with security requirements for equipment suppliers separate from nationwide networks, according to a document seen by Reuters.
The plan, to be published in the official gazette on Friday, calls for a 5G network limited to the Federal District, where the capital Brasilia is located.
The government is preparing a spectrum auction this year for 5G networks, weighing security concerns that have led some countries to exclude China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd as a supplier for those next-generation networks.
The carve-out for a government network may give right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro grounds to drop resistance to Huawei on the broader national network, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Under pressure from former U.S. President Donald Trump, Bolsonaro had taken the view that Huawei should be banned from new networks as a security threat, but the government struggled to find technical grounds for such an exclusion.
Two other government sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because plans have not been made public, said the measure makes no mention of Huawei, which can still supply the private market.
However, the sources said companies hoping to tender for the network will be expected to comply with governance rules compatible with those of publicly listed companies, and may even need to be listed themselves. That would make it harder for Huawei to compete, although not necessarily block it from tendering, one of the sources said.
Huawei has denied that its equipment poses any security threat to global markets.
Brazil’s main wireless companies already use Huawei equipment and have lobbied against restricting suppliers for the new technology, arguing that it would create significant costs that would ultimately be passed on to consumers.
A Huawei official said the Chinese company, the world’s largest telecom equipment maker, already has more than 50% of Brazil’s wireless infrastructure.
“These security requirements apply to all supplier companies. Anyone who fails to comply does not enter the secure network,” one source told Reuters, requesting anonymity to be able to speak freely. (Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu Writing by Anthony Boadle Editing by Brad Haynes, Richard Chang and David Gregorio)
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