The Chief Executive of Vodafone Nick Read defended Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei at a press conference held at the 2019 Mobile World Congress (MWC) here on Monday, saying banning Huawei could put back 5G's arrival in Europe.
MWC 2019, which is considered the main event of the year in the mobile telecommunications industry, is now making headlines as the U.S. is attempting to convince other nations to follow its lead in banning Huawei technology from being used in the rollout of their 5G networks.
Monday also saw a group of U.S. senators call for Huawei to be blocked from supplying parts to the U.S. power grid to convert solar energy.
Speaking in Barcelona, Read said he disagreed with the U.S. line.
He explained that banning Huawei in Europe would be both "expensive" and "hugely disruptive," putting back 5G's arrival in Europe for "two years".
"It structurally disadvantages Europe. Of course, the U.S. don't have that problem because they don't put Huawei equipment in," said Read.
Vodafone is the second largest mobile operator in the world by subscribers. Vodafone Spain confirmed on Sunday that Huawei will play a major role in the construction of their 5G network in the southern European nation along with Ericsson.
Read pointed out that not allowing Huawei to collaborate in the 5G rollout would only leave Nokia and Ericsson to carry out the task.
"If we concentrate it down to two players, I think that's an unhealthy position not just for us as an industry but also for national infrastructure in the country," he said, calling for a "fact-based conversation" with governments and security experts.
On Tuesday, Huawei's Rotating Chairman Guo Ping spoke at the MWC and reiterated that his company could be trusted in security matters.
"Let me say this as clear as possible: Huawei has not and will never plant backdoors. And we will never allow anyone to do so in our equipment. We take this responsibility very seriously," he said.
"The U.S. security accusation on our 5G has no evidence -- nothing," he reassured his audience at the congress.