Huawei’s Influence In UK Infrastructure Could Get Diluted As BT Looks For More Vendors

Amidst pressure from the United States for a boycott and with the European Union lawmakers passing a law earlier this week pledging to increase the number of suppliers of equipment for 5G networks, the Chinese telecom equipment making giant Huawei is set to face a challenge in the United Kingdom because the leading telecom service provider in the country now wants to increase its options with respect to the number of equipment suppliers.

British Teleocm (BT) which has one of the largest share of the UK the telecom services market, is reportedly looking out to include a third vendor for supplying of kit for its Openreach division as a part of its preparations to roll out a country wide full-fibre internet. Currently, Huawei and Nokia, of Finland are the only vendors of Openreach.

“We welcome a diverse and competitive market. Diversity leads to greater innovation and ultimately benefits customers,” Victor Zhang, vice-president of Huawei, told Al Jazeera. “Huawei is proud to have been a supplier to BT since 2005, and we will continue to play a key role in supporting BT for building its broadband network. We look forward to a continued partnership that will help build a better connected UK,” he added.

Huawie has been under pressure as some Western countries have banned the company from participating in the process of construction of 5G networks in their countries over concerns that the equipment supplied by the Chinese company could have backdoors that could be used by Chinese agencies to spy on the countries thereby threatening national security. The United States has already banned the company and put it on its black list while the same has been done in Australia and New Zealand. Huawei has repeatedly denied all the charges. Huawei has also been caught in the cross fire of the US–China trade war.

A call to form a united front in dealings with China in Europe was given by Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday, specifically in the area of the construction of 5G mnobile networks across the continent.

“Research from Ivalua suggests that 68 percent of telecommunication businesses say that the number of suppliers they work with has risen in the last 12 months,” Alex Saric, Ivalua’s smart procurement expert, told the media.

“This is because 91 percent of telcos say they have a high dependency on suppliers to help them deliver products and services, so by broadening the number of suppliers they work with they can mitigate the impact of geopolitical and regulatory risk. [Many] telcos also admitted to not having comprehensive and deployed contingency plans in place to prepare the supply chain for geopolitical changes.”

(Adapted form AlJaZeera.com)

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