Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Hoettges said it would be wrong for Germany to impose ban on foreign vendors of telecoms network equipment, in an answer to a question about Huawei Technologies from China.
“Excluding one provider will reduce our flexibility. We oppose blanket bans,” Tim Hoettges told Deutsche Telekom’s annual general meeting.
Deutsche Telekom is relying mainly on Huawei to build 5G mobile network in Germany, and this week extended coverage to 16 million people, or around 20 percent of the population. Its other supplier of radio access network gear is Ericsson.
Earlier, Airtel Chairman Sunil Mittal and Vodafone Group CEO Nick Reed supported the future involvement of Huawei in their mobile networks.
Sunil Mittal said Huawei ensured the best quality to Airtel network. Airtel has also gained from the cost effectiveness of Huawei equipment.
Nick Reed said removal of Huawei network will be too costly for the UK-based telecom operator.
Deutsche Telekom aims control of T-Mobile
Deutsche Telekom said it aims to retain control of T-Mobile if Japan’s Softbank reduces its stake. The German telecom giant is also aiming to claim top spot in the U.S. wireless market dominated by AT&T and Verizon.
Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Hoettges, speaking at the annual general meeting, said that Softbank wants to reduce its 23 percent stake in U.S. operator T-Mobile to bolster its finances because of the demanding economic environment.
Deutsche Telekom has the right of first refusal under a four-year shareholder pact that took effect when T-Mobile’s $23 billion takeover of Sprint closed in April.
Deutsche Telekom has 43 percent stake in T-Mobile but the shareholder pact with Softbank assures it of strategic control and allows it to consolidate results of its largest subsidiary at group level.
“We will become No.1 in the United States,” Tim Hoettges said earlier in his set-piece address to the AGM, which was held online for the first time because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Talks with Softbank continue, Hoettges said.
Capital markets publication IFR reported on Friday that Softbank could liquidate about two thirds of its stake, with T-Mobile likely to repurchase part of that while Deutsche Telekom could buy enough shares to lift its stake above 50 percent.
Tim Hoettges also confirmed Deutsche Telekom’s guidance for this year, emphasising the group’s resilience in the face of the pandemic. He added that its outlook would be updated during the second quarter to account for the U.S. deal.
Deutsche Telekom has forecast core profit this year of 25.5 billion euros ($28.6 billion) and proposed a 2019 dividend of 0.60 euros.