European Huawei and ZTE 5G ban would cost operators €55bn

(Image credit: Shutterstock) (Image credit: Shutterstock)

A mobile industry report has claimed the widespread rollout of 5G across Europe could be delayed by up to 18 months and cost €55 million more than expected if operators are denied access to Chinese-made networking equipment.

Huawei, and to a lesser extent ZTE, command 40 per cent of the European telco equipment market but have effectively been frozen out of the US on national security grounds.

Last month, US firms were ordered to stop doing business with Huawei - a decision which has significant repercussions for the company’s devices and networking divisions.

Huawei EU

Huawei has frequently denied any allegations that its products are a security risk, while the US government has produced no evidence of any wrongdoing. Nonetheless, Washington is now urging allies to follow its lead and ban Huawei from their 5G deployments.

European operators have frequently voiced their opposition to any ban, arguing that excluding Huawei would result in decreased innovation and higher prices.

And now a report from the GSMA, seen by Reuters, has put a figure on the impact of such action.

“Half of this (additional cost) would be due to European operators being impacted by higher input costs following significant loss of competition in the mobile equipment market,” the report supposedly reads.

“Additionally, operators would need to replace existing infrastructure before implementing 5G upgrades.”

The UK has been carrying out its own assessment on the future role of Huawei in the UK’s telecoms infrastructure. A report was expected to arrive in the Spring but has not yet materialised. Leaks suggested that operators will not be banned from using Huawei kit in the radio layer of their networks, but this has yet to be confirmed.

A separate report has claimed any ban would jeopardise the UK’s position as a 5G leader by delaying the widespread availability of services by 18-24 months. This could cost the UK economy as much as £6.8 billion.

Via Reuters

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.