As the global pressure on Huawei reached fever pitch on Tuesday, Deutsche Telekom (DT) is said to have warned that the roll out of 5G technology in Europe could be delayed by at least two years if wireless service providers are forced to remove the China-based vendor from their lists of 5G equipment suppliers.
According to a report by Bloomberg, DT carried out an internal assessment of the impact of removing Huawei, although the resulting report has not been made publicly available and DT has so far declined to comment. At the same time, Reuters reported that DT is reviewing its network equipment procurement plans because of U.S. concerns over security and subsequent moves to ban Huawei from future 5G networks.
Nevertheless, DT’s findings chime with recent reports that some major European wireless service providers believe Huawei is ahead of rivals such as Ericsson and Nokia when it comes to the maturity and readiness of its 5G equipment. Huawei has become a leading supplier to many operators, and government decisions to ban it could turn rollout schedules on their heads. The situation would be further exacerbated if Huawei equipment already installed in 4G networks also has to be stripped out.
The former U.K. incumbent BT has already said it will remove Huawei equipment from sensitive parts of its 4G core network and exclude the vendor from the selection process for its 5G core, although the operator insisted that Huawei remains a networking partner. Vodafone also said recently that it will suspend purchases of some of Huawei’s networking equipment as governments around the world consider bans against the Chinese technology firm.
Countries including Australia, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States have already raised concerns about the perceived risk of using equipment from Huawei and its domestic rival ZTE in future 5G networks.