According to two sources close to the matter at hand, telecom operators Orange Belgium and Proximus plan on replacing Huawei’s mobile equipment in Belgium and Luxembourg with Nokia equivalent.
The development comes with growing recognition of U.S. accusations that Huawei’s telecom gear could be used for economic and military espionage purposes by Beijing.
Both Nokia and Orange declined comment.
While Proximus did not immediately respond to requests for comments Huawei had no immediate comment.
The development marks one of the first cases in Europe where commercial telecom operators are replacing Huawei’s 5G telecom equipment over network security concerns.
Belgium’s capital Brussels is home to the European Union’s executive body and parliament, making it a strategic location and a matter of particular concern for U.S. intelligence agencies.
“There’s a profound insistence on the need to push Huawei towards the exit,” said one of the sources. “There’s also a growing concern about Huawei’s capacity to produce its equipment”.
Late last month, Nokia announced that it had bagged a deal to supply 5G radio equipment to Britain’s biggest mobile operator BT.
In 2019, Orange’s Belgian division and Proximus had signed an agreement to share their mobile network. This is why the decision to shift to Nokia was a collective one.
Other European countries are also moving to impose greater restrictions on Huawei.
While the German government plans on introducing tougher oversight of telecoms network vendors and thus esesntially tie-up Huawei in red tape in Europe’s largest market. France, the EU’s second largest economy, aims on placing a de facto ban Huawei’s mobile equipment by 2028, said sources close to the matter at hand in July.