Members of mobile communications industry body GSMA will discuss about the possible removal of network vendor Huawei from key markets, amid concerns such a development could impact operators in a big way.
The Reuters report did not reveal the official response of the GSMA officials on the Huawei controversy. Huawei, the largest telecom network maker, Nokia and Ericsson, the second and third largest telecom equipment suppliers, are members of GSMA.
The European Commission is already considering a de facto ban on Huawei’s 5G network equipment for next-generation mobile networks in the European Union due to security concerns, sources in Brussels have told Reuters.
GSMA Director General Mats Granryd has written to GSMA members proposing to put the debate around Huawei onto the agenda of its next board meeting.
The crucial meeting will be held in late February on the sidelines of the Mobile World Congress (MWC 2019), the industry’s biggest annual gathering, in Barcelona, a spokesman for the federation told Reuters on Saturday.
Some Western countries, including the United States and Australia, have restricted Huawei from 5G mobile networks, citing concerns that its equipment may contain back doors opening it up to cyber-espionage.
Western governments are concerned that China’s National Intelligence Law requires its companies and people to collaborate in espionage efforts.
Huawei, the global market leader with annual sales of more than $100 billion, denies the existence of any back doors. The company and its founder Ren Zhengfei have denied they would spy for China.
Since many mobile operators rely on Huawei to build 5G networks, and a ban would be a setback for Europe’s efforts to stay competitive in communications, with implications for connected factories, self-driving cars and medical technology.
Deutsche Telekom earlier said it will face delay its plans to roll out 5G services by two to three years if it removes Huawei equipment from its existing networks.
Deutsche Telekom is Europe’s largest telecoms company and partly-owned by the local government. Deutsche Telekom is preparing new sourcing guidelines that will protect Huawei.
Vodafone Group CEO Nick Read earlier said the replacement of the existing Huawei solutions from leading mobile operators’ networks in Europe will be a costly and time consuming process. Vodafone is the world’s second largest telecoms operator.
Most of the GSMA board members did not make any negative statements about Huawei till now.
The GSMA board include: Stephane Richard, chairman and chief executive officer of Orange; Mats Granryd, director general of GSMA; Juan Carlos Archila, EVP International Affairs of America Movil; Susan A Johnson, EVP – Global Connections & Supply Chain of AT&T; Tan Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim, president and group CEO of Axiata; Gopal Vittal, CEO of Bharti Airtel India; LI Zhengmao, EVP of China Mobile; Liu Guiqing, EVP of China Telecom; Shao Guanglu, EVP of China Unicom; Srini Gopalan, member of the Board of Management at Deutsche Telekom; Hatem Dowidar, CEO International at Etisalat Group; Christian Salbaing, deputy chairman, Europe, Hutchison Whampoa (Europe); Rob Shuter, president and group CEO of MTN; Alexey Kornya, president and CEO of MTS; Kazuhiro Yoshizawa, president and CEO of NTT DOCOMO; Mathew Oommen, president of Reliance Jio; Chua Sock Koong, group CEO of Singtel; Jung Ho Park, president and CEO of SK Telecom; Marcelo Claure, COO of Softbank; Nasser Sulaiman A. Al Nasser, group CEO of STC; Julio Linares Lopez, VP of Telefonica; Sigve Brekke, group CEO of Telenor; Andrew Penn, CEO of Telstra; Kaan Terzioglu, CEO of Turkcell; Rima Qureshi, chief strategy officer of Verizon; and Vivek Badrinath, CEO for the Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific at Vodafone