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UK will lose 5G lead if it scraps Huawei, warns Vodafone’s Petty

Jasper Hart
June 11, 2020

Comments come as PM faces mounting pressure

Vodafone UK CTO Scott Petty has warned that the UK would lose its status as a leading country for 5G deployment if it removed Huawei from its infrastructure.

Speaking to the Financial TimesPetty said: “The UK’s leadership in 5G will be lost if mobile operators are forced to spend time and money replacing existing equipment.”

Petty’s comments come as Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces pressure from the US and members of his own government to ban the vendor over security concerns.

He added that while Vodafone works with other suppliers including Ericsson, “it is important to understand the extent of what is at stake here”.

After Johnson initially put a 35 per cent cap on the use of Huawei infrastructure in non-core parts of the network, he has since looked into ways to eliminating it entirely by 2023.

Additionally, the National Cyber Security Centre launched a fresh review into the the company following new US sanctions.

BT has said removing Huawei equipment from its EE network would cost around £500 million. All four networks are continuing to upgrade their networks with Huawei technology this year, albeit not exclusively.

According to Omdia, the UK is currently ranked second in Europe and sixth in the world for 5G rollout.

Earlier this week, Huawei launched a newspaper and online ad campaign to mark 20 years of business in the UK. Vice president Victor Zhang denied allegations of Huawei being a state-owned company, comparing it to retailer John Lewis.

Petty’s comments are a reflection of those he and other network heads made at the 2019 Mobile News XPO, when he said eliminating Huawei would slow down the UK’s 5G deployment by as much as two years.

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