Vodafone’s CEO Nick Read said that the debate about Huawei was taking place at a “simplistic level”
U.K. telecom group Vodafone will continue to use gear from Chinese vendor Huawei in 5G Radio Access Network but will pause the implementation of the vendor’s equipment for 5G core networks, Vodafone’s CEO Nick Read said during a conference call with investors.
The executive said that Huawei is a key company in the telecoms equipment market and added that the debate about potential security issues with the Chinese company was taking place at a “simplistic political level.”
“Specifically on Huawei, (…) I think we need to move to more a fact-based conversation, I think at the moment is a simplistic political level, and there is a big distinction between radio and core,” the executive said.
“We are predominately using Huawei in radio. We are continuing to use them in radio for 5G. However, in the core, we have put them on pause. They are not significant in the scale of our operations in the core, and therefore it’s not a big financial implication,” he added.
“We’re putting the call on pause. We’re not replacing at this stage, because now is the moment to engage with the security agencies, with politicians and with Huawei to improve everyone’s understanding and make it clear these steps Huawei are doing in terms of the engineering processes that they are committing through for the security agencies,” Read said.
Read also said that a complete ban to use Huawei’s equipment at the radio level would cause several problems not only to Vodafone but to other carriers in Europe.
“Clearly, if there was a complete ban at the radio level, then it would be a huge issue for us, but it would be a huge issue for the whole European telco sector. (…) We now need to make a lot more fact-based conversation. And I think you’re going to see more and more operators doing that,” Read said.
A number of countries including the U.S., Canada, Japan the U.K., Germany, Australia and New Zealand have already taken certain steps to block or limit purchases of network equipment from Huawei and ZTE, over security allegations. In a recent rare press conference with international journalists, Ren Zhengfei, Huawei’s founder and CEO, said that his company does not spy for the Chinese government and that it would not respond to improper government requests for information.
“China’s ministry of foreign affairs has officially clarified that no law in China requires any company to install mandatory back doors. Huawei and me personally have never received any request from any government to provide improper information,” Ren added.
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