Vodafone warns against UK blanket ban of Huawei 5G telecoms tech

Vodafone 5G site at Manchester Airport

Vodafone has thrown its opinion into the Huwaei controversy ring, by stating if the government bans the use of Huawei's 5G technology, it's likely to have a negative impact on the rollout of 5G in the country.

Not only would it mean the UK networks wouldn't be able to roll out 5G networks according to schedule, it would also cost hundreds of millions of pounds, replacing base stations that have been set up using the Chinese manufacturer's technology.

Huawei's network infrastructure is being used in a third of Vodafone's base stations and if the government advises that businesses stop using the Chinese company's equipment, off the back of snooping claims by the US, it could mean customers would not be able to access 5G networks until it's all been replaced.

"If we were forced to remove Huawei from the network, we would need to go to the 32 percent of base stations that are currently using Huawei for radio and replace all of those with somebody else's technology and then deploy 5G on top of that," Vodafone's UK chief technology officer, Scott Petty said, Reuters reported.

"The cost of doing that runs into the hundreds of millions and would dramatically affect our 5G business case; we would have to slow down the deployment of 5G very significantly."

Vodafone argues that the Huawei components used in its base stations are considered "low-risk" and therefore it should not be a necessity for the equipment to be replaced.

Networks should be able to use Huawei's tech for such low-risk parts of its infrastructure, even if higher risk parts, such as those used in transport or for critical infrastructure, are to be switched. Vodafone said it hasn't used Huawei technology in those aspects of its business for five years.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.