Telefonica plans to reduce the amount of Huawei kit in its core 5G network, but stresses the decision is technical rather than political.
The operator currently uses Huawei to power the entirety of its 2G and 4G infrastructure, and confirmed last week that it would continue to use the company for 5G alongside other vendors.
The US has banned Huawei from its 5G rollout on national security grounds and is urging its allies to follow suit. Huawei has repeatedly denied any allegations of wrongdoing, while Washington has not provided any evidence to support its claims.
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Huawei is a major supplier for many European networks and US pressure has been greeted with a lukewarm response from governments and operators who fear innovation would decrease and costs rise should any ban be imposed.
Telefonica CTIO Enrique Blanco said that he had seen no evidence to support the US’s claims that Huawei was a security threat but believed the use of kit from multiple companies would make its core more secure.
Most mobile operators are adopting a multi-vendor approach because it improves the resilience of the network. For example, if an operator used a single provider for the core, transport and radio layers of its infrastructure then it would be far easier for an attacker to wreak havoc. Indeed, for this reason, Germany has urged its operators to avoid “monocultures” in their 5G networks.
However Blanco did say that he believed Huawei is less suited to multi-vendor environments and therefore Telefonica will use less of its products going forward.
“When the core comes from a single vendor, the probability is high that a failure in one part stops the whole network,” he is quoted as saying.
Huawei has been approached for comment.
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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.