U.S. offers Brazil funding to buy 5G gear from Huawei rivals -diplomat

BRASILIA, June 23 (Reuters) - The U.S. government is prepared to help finance in telecom companies in Brazil and other countries to acquire fifth-generation technology that is not provided by “untrusted” Chinese companies, its top diplomat in Brazil said on Tuesday.

Ambassador Todd Chapman said Ericsson, Nokia Oyj and Samsung were companies that have successfully provided “appropriate” 5G technology that adequately protects information, data flows and intellectual property.

The funding would come from the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), a government agency that provides financing for private development projects, he said.

Chapman told correspondents in a virtual briefing that China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, the world’s largest telecoms equipment maker, was not to be trusted as a partner in building out 5G networks around the world.

Huawei did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Huawei has consolidated its presence in Brazil over the last 20 years and local telecoms operators have already tested its 5G technology and built significant parts of their backbone infrastructure using Chinese equipment.

Huawei has successfully conducted 5G tests with major carriers - Telefonica Brasil SA, TIM Participacoes SA , America Movil’s Claro and Oi SA - and is helping them modernize their infrastructure ahead of a long-awaited 5G spectrum auction.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has urged governments worldwide, including Brazil, to shun Huawei because of spying concerns.

Chapman has publicly warned in Brazil that including Chinese companies in the country’s 5G deployment could discourage investments by other foreign companies that do not trust the technology, and his message is getting through.

“More and more are understanding the challenges to the Brazilian economy moving forward should it choose to move further with 5G implementation using these untrusted providers,” Chapman said.

“We are simply alerting our friends and allies in Brazil that we have those concerns shared by many countries around the world that such technology is not the way to go,” he said. (Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Dan Grebler)