Russia’s Rostec seeks Chinese partnership to boost its homegrown 5G

Russia is looking to take advantage of the trade pressures mounting on Chinese companies as a result of current US policies. The country has already offered its national mobile operating system to Huawei to help it create its Android alternative; now state-owned network equipment vendor Rostec is positioning itself as a new supplier for operators which are concerned about the narrowing selection of vendors for their 5G networks, should they be prevented from using Huawei or ZTE.

This is more about working with Chinese companies than replacing them, however. Rostec has been supported by the Russian state as part of a push to become more self-sufficient in core technologies, though it has made little visible commercial progress, even among Russia’s own MNOs (some of which work with Huawei, despite laws which supposedly force them to purchase over half of their equipment from local vendors).

The company, however, said it has started its development of 5G equipment and is now

looking for international partners to help it start production in Russia. But it clearly lacks the resources or credibility to become a mainstream provider without support.

Victor Kladov, Rostec’s director for international cooperation and regional policy, said in a recent interview: “We are making developments in the field of 5G and are interested in partnerships with foreign manufacturers, such as from India and China. We are striving to create conditions for beneficial development and production of advance products in Russia.”

Established in 2007, Rostec was reported, last autumn, to be in talks with Russian MNOs Rostelecom and MegaFon to form a 5G consortium, which would use homegrown equipment to reduce the cost of deployment. As with many such Russian partnership ideas, no results have yet been forthcoming.