The U.K. carrier said the Chinese vendor is one of its suppliers in the 5G segment
The rollout of 5G networks in the U.K. will be delayed if the government implements a ban on the use of Huawei equipment, David Dyson, CEO of mobile operator Three, said during an interview with the BBC.
The executive said that a potential ban could delay 5G deployments in the UK by up to 18 months.
A U.K. government telecoms infrastructure review is nearing completion amid pressure from U.S. authorities for the U.K. government to ban the Chinese vendor due to security concerns.
Dyson also said that Three was planning to use equipment from Huawei for the deployment of the company’s 5G infrastructure.
“We’ve already started to deploy equipment for when we launch 5G in the second half of the year,” he said. “So if we had to change vendor now, we would take a big step backwards and probably cause a delay of 12 to 18 months.”
Dyson added that Huawei was just one of its suppliers, but stressed that Three has consulted with the government about security issues and was confident that the Chinese company did not pose a threat to its customers.
“Huawei met all of the standards that the other companies met, and we felt at the end of that process that Huawei was the right choice for our customers and for our business,” he said.
The executive also said that any delay in the deployment of 5G networks will generate a negative impact for the broader economic environment in the U.K.
Three’s view is shared by rival competitors in the U.K. Earlier this month, Vodafone’s CTO Scott Petty said any move by the U.K. government to bar equipment made by Chinese vendor Huawei from new 5G networks would slow down the deployment of 5G technology in the country.
Petty said that Huawei radio equipment is installed in nearly a third of the company’s 18,000 base stations in the U.K.
“If we were forced to remove Huawei from the network, we would need to go to the 32% 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,” Petty reportedly said.
“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,” he added. Reuters reported that Vodafone Group has also indicated that a ban of Huawei’s equipment would cost it hundreds of millions of pounds.
According to recent press reports, the UK government is working to impose strict new security regulations on telecom operators to prevent them using equipment from Chinese vendor Huawei across more than 50% of their networks.
The reports said that government officials are preparing to recommend a 50% cap on the proportion of equipment that can be supplied by the Chinese vendor. This new regulation would apply across Britain’s four mobile networks for core network equipment and radio equipment, including 5G networks.
Last month, the U.K. National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) reportedly concluded that the country has the tools to mitigate the potential risk from using Huawei equipment in 5G networks.
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