Vodafone to remove Huawei equipment from its core networks

Vodafone will remove all equipment manufactured by Huawei from the sensitive core of its mobile networks in Europe.

Speaking to Reuters on Wednesday morning, Vodafone CEO Nick Read explained that the exclusion of Huawei products comes “as a result of the EU toolbox and the UK government’s decision”.

Last month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a 35% cap on Huawei’s involvement in building the country’s 5G telecoms network, following US disapproval of using the Chinese manufacturer.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab defended the decision, saying: “The future of our digital economy depends on having that trust in safety and security,” he said. “And if we are to encourage the take-up of new technologies that will transform our lives for the better then we need to have the right measures in place."

So far, no other European nation has indicated it would introduce similar restrictions. Last week, the EU said it would allow its member states to have ultimate control over what vendors they can use in their 5G infrastructure.

Read estimated that the decision would take five years implement, costing Vodafone €200 million (£169 million).

The PM’s decision to cap Huawei’s involvement in 5G broadband infrastructure affects other telephone network providers as well – at high costs.

BT's chief executive Philip Jansen said that the company’s mobile arm, EE, will have to spend £500 million over five years to replace Huawei hardware for other manufacturers.

“The way it works at the moment is when you put a 5G box on a mast it has to be on top of a 4G box from the same supplier,” he said, according to The Guardian. “More than 35% of [our] 4G boxes are Huawei. We are going to have to take out some Huawei 4G boxes and not use them again. That is probably the single biggest cost.”

EU Commissioner for internal market Thierry Breton has previously stated that tougher security policies, such as the ones involving Huawei, would not delay the 5G rollout in Europe.

Sabina Weston

Having only graduated from City University in 2019, Sabina has already demonstrated her abilities as a keen writer and effective journalist. Currently a content writer for Drapers, Sabina spent a number of years writing for ITPro, specialising in networking and telecommunications, as well as charting the efforts of technology companies to improve their inclusion and diversity strategies, a topic close to her heart.

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