Telefonica to reduce sourcing of Huawei telecom network

Telefonica plans to reduce sourcing of telecom network equipment from Chinese technology company Huawei for the core of its 5G mobile networks in Europe, Reuters reported.
Telefonica CTIO Enrique BlancoEurope’s fourth-largest telecoms group will buy from several different providers the pieces of the most sensitive part of its infrastructure, which will use 5G technology to handle ever more data and connect billions of devices.

Telefonica’s new strategy to reduce telecom network from Huawei, which is the low-cost supplier of telecom equipment, was a purely technical decision, Telefonica chief technology and information officer (CTIO) Enrique Blanco said.

Until now, Telefonica has relied entirely on Huawei for its core 4G networks in key markets of Spain and Germany. Telefonica, under the new strategy, will stop using Huawei in its core 4G network by 2024.

The development will assist Ericsson, Nokia, ZTE and Samsung to grab more network deals from Telefonica.

Huawei equipment slots less well into networks whose various layers come from different providers, a structure which helps ensure security of service, Blanco said.

“When the core comes from a single vendor, the probability is high that a failure in one part stops the whole network,” he said.

Telefonica has seen no evidence to support United States President Donald Trump’s allegations that Huawei gear is insecure, Blanco said. Huawei and Beijing have denied the accusations.

“We have no evidence of back doors … we monitor every day,” he said, referring to loopholes that would enable China to spy on other countries.

Nevertheless, protection of data was a motivating factor in the decision to use multiple suppliers.

This way, “no vendor, regardless of their nationality, has all the information in their system,” Blanco said.

The Madrid-based company will continue to buy from Huawei the radios and antennas that connect smartphones to the mobile network, equipment which accounts for the bulk of the cost, Blanco said.

Vodafone of United Kingdom and Deutsche Telekom of Germany are opting for multiple vendors. Deutsche Telekom is holding off from signing any 5G network contracts until German politicians agree on whether to bar Huawei on national security grounds.