Huawei Technologies and ZTE, two leading telecom equipment makers from China, have criticised the Italian government’s newly beefed-up powers to intervene in the development of 5G telecom services, Reuters reported.
Rome passed a decree last week strengthening its powers in infrastructure projects that involve the rollout of the country’s 5G telecoms network. The decree must be approved by parliament in the next 60 days or it will expire.
Italy recently beefed up the measure due partly to concerns over the potential involvement of Huawei and ZTE in the development of 5G networks.
Rome decreed that it could block 5G deals involving non-European firms on national interest grounds.
Under the decree, a deal involving non-European companies could take up to 165 days to receive government approval.
Luigi De Vecchis, chairman of Huawei Italia, made the comment in a parliamentary hearing, after the government moved by urgent decree to strengthen its existing “golden power” to intervene in the private sector.
ZTE warned that the Italian government’s power to intervene in the development of 5G networks may further delay 5G mobile services in the country.
“The recent decree of golden power creates more and bigger uncertainty for the industry players,” ZTE Italy CEO Hu Kun said.
Hu Kun also said the powers should be applied to the whole industry, echoing comments made this week by Huawei which called for them to be applied to all vendors, including European firms.
The United States has lobbied Italy and other European allies to avoid Huawei equipment and to also pay close scrutiny to ZTE, alleging the vendors could pose a security risk. Both companies have strongly denied any such risk.
Huawei Technologies earlier said it would invest $3 billion in Italy over the next three years, as the Chinese telecoms giant called on Rome to ensure the “transparent, efficient and fair” use of its ‘golden power’ on 5G network development.
Huawei Italy CEO Thomas Miao said Italy’s golden power should be extended to all vendors in the European Union. Ericsson and Nokia are based in Europe.
Telecom Italia and Vodafone Italia are expected to finalize soon a deal to jointly roll out 5G infrastructure in Italy. Both companies were waiting for the decree to decide how to deal with Chinese partners such as Huawei.