September 26, 2019 / 8:54 PM / 23 days ago

Brazil's Oi to test 5G in Rio music festival using Huawei's gear

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Brazilian telecoms company Oi SA is pictured inside a store in Sao Paulo, Brazil July 18, 2018. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker/File Photo

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazil’s telecoms carrier Oi SA is preparing to test fifth-generation wireless network (5G) during the Rock in Rio music festival, using equipment provided by China’s Huawei Technology Co Ltd [HWT.UL], to conduct one of the largest trials of the technology in Brazil.

According to Oi, 5G will be used by the entire event’s staff in live coverage of the attractions, while the public will be able to test the technology on handsets that will be made available during the event.

The “City of Rock,” as the venue of the event is known, is expected to lure around 100,000 people per day featuring local and international bands including Foo Fighters, Bon Jovi and The Black Eyed Peas, the company added.

“We’ve suggested to Rock in Rio the deployment of 5G to transform the event in the first city connected by the technology,” Oi’s operational director, José Claúdio Moreira Gonçalves, said in a statement.

The company, Brazil’s largest fixed-line carrier, began 5G tests in March, when it also partnered up with Huawei to try out the technology in Búzios, a city in Rio de Janeiro state.

Since it filed for bankruptcy protection in June 2016 to restructure 65 billion reais in debt, Oi has been focusing on reviving its mobile operations, whose customer base has shrunk over 20% to 35 million, according to the most recent earnings.

The United States has alleged Huawei’s equipment could be used by Beijing for spying, which the Chinese firm has repeatedly denied. U.S. firms are barred from using some of the firm’s equipment and Washington is putting pressure on other countries to follow suit.

Reporting by Gabriela Mello; Editing by Sandra Maler

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