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How Huawei conquered the Faroe Islands

An unlikely challenger has emerged in the race to deliver 5G internet services: the Faroe Islands.

“The Faroese are traditionally seen as humble folk, but in this I’m being very un-Faroese,” said Jan Ziskasen, CEO of state-owned Faroese Telecom, the larger of two telecommunications companies on the islands. “I want us to be No. 1 in the world.”

The string of picturesque islands in the North Atlantic already has one of the fastest 4G mobile networks on Earth. Now it wants to be among the leaders in the rollout of the next generation, which promises lightning-fast access to the web and vast capacity for data transfers.

There are strong signs that these are not empty aspirations. But now, U.S. spying charges against Chinese technology giant Huawei may derail the Faroese 5G rollout — forcing the island nation to pick between its state-of-the-art phone system and European political priorities.

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