With the European Commission thinking about a potential ban on Huawei’s 5G equipment, Vodafone CEO Nick Read warned that a ban would lead to repercussions for Europe.
Speaking at a press conference at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Read said a ban on Huawei’s 5G network equipment would curtail competition. Huawei, Nokia, and Ericsson reportedly account for over half of revenues in the telecommunications equipment market, with Huawei being the largest telecommunications equipment provider in the world.
“If we concentrate it down to two players, I think that’s an unhealthy position not just for us as an industry, but also for national infrastructure in the country,” said Read.
According to CNBC, Read also said that forcing companies to swap out Huawei equipment in favor of competitors’ would be costly for operators and consumers. The added cost, said Read, would delay Europe’s 5G rollout by “probably two years.”
“It structurally disadvantages Europe. Of course, the U.S. doesn’t have that problem because they don’t put Huawei equipment in.”
Read’s not wrong. A ban on Huawei’s network equipment wouldn’t be a problem in the U.S., which cites security concerns with the company. Namely, the U.S. is concerned that the Chinese government is spying on consumers through Huawei and its network equipment.
That concern is what led Australia to bar Huawei from providing its 5G network equipment to local carriers and might lead the European Commission to do the same. The GSM Association (GSMA) will reportedly hold a board meeting during MWC 2019 to discuss the possible ban.
The U.K.’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) reportedly concluded that any security concerns with Huawei can be mitigated. The official report, which has not yet been made public, could derail U.S. initiatives to persuade other countries to block Huawei.