Nearshore Americas

Colombia Warned Against China’s Strong Influence in its Telecom Infrastructure

Political risk consultancy Colombia Risk Analysis warned against China’s strong pressence and influence within Colombia’s telecom infrastructure, citing potential espionage and national security concerns.

The firm’s report, “The Footprint of Chinese Technology in Colombia,” highlights China’s national security laws, which compel private companies to cooperate with intelligence gathering activities.

While Chinese companies are not directly involved in Colombia’s 5G spectrum auctions, they hold a significant presence as suppliers of networking equipment for major local carriers like Claro and Movistar, contributing to 50% of their 3G and 4G infrastructure.

Furthermore, smaller carriers like Tigo and WOM rely entirely on Huawei equipment for their network operations.

It is not clear, therefore, whether Colombians are already compromised, Sergio Guzmán, Director of Risk Analysis, told local publication Diálogo.

“The biggest risk is that in Colombia there is no legal way to know the real participation of suppliers. If tomorrow Colombia decides that Chinese companies are a risk to national security, the country will not really know how compromised their networks are, and it will probably be too late,” Guzmán said.

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Chinese telecom firms are banned from operating in the US. Some Latin American countries, such as Costa Rica, excluded Huawei from taking part in 5G auctions.

However, excluding them entirely presents a significant challenge. Chinese companies like Huawei often offer cost-effective and technologically advanced telecom equipment, making them attractive options for developing countries seeking to expand their networks.

Narayan Ammachchi

News Editor for Nearshore Americas, Narayan Ammachchi is a career journalist with a decade of experience in politics and international business. He works out of his base in the Indian Silicon City of Bangalore.

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