They would also cost Europe tens of billions of dollars as the region looks to build up ‘5G’ networks, which are meant to support a vast expansion in internet-connected things, from self-driving cars to factory robots and remote surgery.
“Europe is still divided over Huawei, but the trendline is moving in a fairly clear direction” as the US exerts pressure on allies to block it, said Thorsten Benner, director of the Berlin-based Global Public Policy Institute think tank.
Geopolitical tensions over Huawei intensified after its chief financial officer, who is also the daughter of founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested December 1 in Canada in connection with US accusations that the company violated restrictions on sales of American technology to Iran.
Huawei has been blocked in the US since 2012, when a House Intelligence Committee report found it was a security risk and recommended that the government and private companies
stop buying its network equipment.
Germany’s Deutsche Telekom
said last week it “takes the global discussion about the security of network elements from Chinese manufacturers very seriously”. The company said it uses multiple companies
to build its network, including Ericsson, Nokia
“Nevertheless, we are currently reevaluating our procurement strategy,” it said.
The statement is significant because until recently it had been one of Huawei's ‘biggest cheerleaders’ based on its cheap and reliable equipment, said Benner.