The head of major telecom operator Vodafone today said that banning Chinese vendor Huawei from delivering equipment for 5G networks is hurting Europe more than any other region, writes Laurens Cerulus.
“You have to understand that, in the U.S., they don’t have Huawei [and] China is of a scale of itself, and using Huawei. The only region that is really, severely held back by this is Europe,” Nick Read, chief executive officer of Vodafone, said at an event in Brussels.
“Don’t hold back Europe. This is fundamentally what this [5G security discussion] does,” Read said.
The CEO called for European lawmakers to stick to a “vendor-agnostic” approach that treats Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE the same way as European vendors Ericsson and Nokia. “Europe doesn’t discriminate between players,” Read said.
He also said “we need to be thinking about more diversity, rather than narrowing options.”
European cybersecurity experts are finalizing a “toolbox” of policy measures for capitals to consider — some of which are aimed at mitigating risks associated specifically with Chinese vendors. The text is expected to be presented mid-January, three people briefed on the work said.
Read said Europe also needs to beef up its technology industries. “We’re not developing a strong technology base in Europe and we have to seriously think about how to correct that,” he said.