Employees stay calm, concentrate on advancing 5G development
While the U.S. is lobbying other Western governments and carriers to ban Chinese telecoms equipment producers like Huawei Technologies, some see the Chinese companies as strategic partners that will play crucial roles in advancing the next generation of wireless technology.
Vodafone Italia, a subsidiary of UK-based telecoms group Vodafone, has officially launched its project to test 5G technologies in the city of Milan, media reports said recently. The company has worked with Huawei to improve the range of high-frequency spectrum as part of the pre-standard 5G trials in Milan.
After the U.S. flagged Huawei over security risks and asked its major allies to drop the company's products, countries including Australia, New Zealand and the UK have come up with measures to ban its core technologies and products in local 5G construction.
The arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou on December 1 has intensified the hostility in the West against the Chinese company.
Still, some foreign carriers are standing by Huawei and business representatives are urging governments not to politicize the matter.
Another Italian operator - Telecom Italia - said it has not received any indication from the government on how to manage relationships with its providers, industry news site lightreading.com reported on Wednesday.
It had not been warned off using Chinese suppliers by local authorities and would continue to work with Huawei in the absence of government restrictions, the report said.
Deutsche Telekom, the largest carrier in Europe, said it takes the global discussion about the security of network elements from Chinese manufacturers very seriously.
"Already today we are pursuing a multi-vendor strategy for the network elements used [from manufacturers primarily Ericsson, Nokia, Cisco, Huawei]," the company said in an e-mail sent to the Global Times on Thursday.
Nevertheless, the company currently reevaluates its procurement strategy, it noted.
In South Korea, LG U+ CEO and Vice Chairman Ha Hyun-hwoi has made it clear that the carrier does not think there are any security threats related to its use of Huawei equipment in its 5G infrastructure, the Korea Joongang Daily reported on Thursday.
Huawei rotating chairman Hu Houkun rejected allegations about the company's network security on Tuesday during a press conference in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province. "No evidence has been presented to back [the allegations] up… and no one can improve by locking out competitors," he said.
Some analysts have already suggested that banning Huawei will create a vacuum that no one can fill in a timely fashion and may seriously impair 5G deployments worldwide, as the Chinese company accounted for 15 percent of all 5G contributions, while Ericsson made 13 percent of the contributions.
"Carriers hold different attitudes from governments on the Huawei issue, as they need to grab cutting-edge technologies and quality services with cheaper prices," Xiang Ligang, chief executive of telecom industry news site cctime.com, told the Global Times on Thursday.
If some Western countries continue to pressure their companies to block Huawei, the Chinese company could work more with local firms to "make some breakthroughs from a business perspective," he suggested.
"The company will hold on and be patient," the expert noted.
Despite the dilemma Huawei is facing in overseas markets, some of its employees said they are confident that the company will get through these difficult times.
"Focus on our own work and carry out practical work every day," said a Huawei employee in a post he shared on its WeChat moment.
In spite of external pressure, there are many European customers who want to continue working with Huawei, said a former employee of Huawei who is based in Brussels.
The company "has established a network security center in Brussels and welcomes investigations by the EU, which shows that Huawei is a company that respects local regulations and laws," he said.
"Employees should focus on work [rather than being disturbed by media reports,] and make 5G technologies better," he added.