Telecom Italia excludes Huawei, Samsung, ZTE from 5G network tender

Telecom Italia (TIM) has excluded Huawei Technologies from a tender for 5G equipment for building the core network in Italy and Brasil, Reuters reported.
TIM digital storeTelecom Italia has invited suppliers such as Cisco, Ericsson, Nokia, Mavenir and Affirmed Networks, a company recently acquired by Microsoft. This list does not include China’s ZTE and Korea’s Samsung.

Huawei Technologies is the #1 telecom network supplier in the world well ahead of Nokia, Ericsson, ZTE and Samsung. Non-participation during the bidding process will be a blow on the annual sale of Huawei. China-based Huawei is already facing ban in the United Kingdom as well.

Recently, BSNL, a state-run telecom operator in India, decided to cancel its 4G tender in order to block the participation of Huawei and ZTE from the sourcing process.

The Reuters report said the move comes amid reports that Italy is considering whether to exclude Huawei from building its 5G network over concerns it could open the way for China to spy on key Western telecoms infrastructure.

Huawei on Thursday defended its record as a private sector infrastructure group and said “the security and development of digital Italy should be based on an approach grounded in facts and not baseless allegations.”

The U.S. government has urged its allies to exclude the Chinese telecoms giant from the West’s next-generation communications.

The United Kingdom will publish this month a government update on the Chinese company after granting it only a limited role in building Britain’s 5G network.

The head of French cybersecurity agency ANSSI ruled out a total ban on Huawei equipment for 5G networks in a newspaper interview on Sunday, but said French telecoms were being encouraged to avoid switching to the Chinese company.

Huawei has played no part in the building of TIM’s existing core network in Italy, while the exclusion could mark a change of course for TIM in Brazil, where Huawei has supplied 4G equipment for the core network of the Italian group’s local unit TIM.

Huawei has conducted 5G tests with all of Brazil’s major carriers including TIM Brasil and is helping them modernize their infrastructure ahead of a 5G spectrum auction.

A Huawei executive this week warned that Brazil could suffer years of delay in deploying 5G network and higher costs if it succumbed to U.S. pressure to snub the Chinese supplier.