Vodafone 'pauses' use of Huawei equipment over security concerns

CHINA-CANADA-US-HUAWEI

Huawei will reveal the world's first 5G smartphone with a foldable display at Mobile World Congress next month.

European governments and security agencies had not pressurized Vodafone into taking the step, but the "noise level" had increased, and the debate now needed more facts, Read said, adding that governments in Africa and the Middle East, where Vodafone also uses Huawei, had not raised concerns.

Mr Yu said the allegations against the company have had little influence on its business because Huawei's products and reputation speak for themselves. He also said a "blanket ban" on the Chinese firm's equipment would slow Vodafone's rollout of 5G networks. President Donald Trump's administration has been pushing allies to block Huawei from fifth-generation wireless networks, citing fears that China could use its equipment for spying, something its executives have denied.

The move follows continued pressure from the U.S. to prevent the use of Huawei equipment in broadband and telecoms networks.

A spokesman for Huawei, which become the world's biggest telecoms equipment maker earlier this decade despite being shut out of the US market, said it had been a long-term strategic partner to Vodafone since 2007.

Vodafone is planning to launch 5G services in a number of markets, including the United Kingdom, later this year. Huawei is also a major supplier of equipment for radio-access network components on mobile towers.




"Huawei is focused on supporting Vodafone's 5G network rollouts, of which the core is a small proportion".

"Our customers have trust and confidence in us", Richard Yu, Huawei's consumer division chief, said at a new-product news conference in Beijing. The vendor already faces bans in the U.S., Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Carriers are reluctant to pivot away from Huawei unless forced as it has spurred competition, driving down equipment costs.

Huawei has been devoted to 5G technology, and has deployed 5G networks in more than ten countries and planned to enter 20 countries in next 12 months, Ken Hu, the company's deputy chairman and rotating chairman said at Davos on Tuesday, predicting the 5G smartphone will hit the market in June.

Ericsson CEO Borje Ekholm said Friday he believed the company had strengthened its market position and that growth in the fourth quarter was mostly due to gains in market share.

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