Italy has reportedly blocked a 5G deal between Huawei and Swisscom-owned telco Fastweb.
According to multiple sources for Reuters, the Italian government stepped in to block a deal for Huawei to supply Fastweb with 5G core network equipment.
Many European countries have either banned or restricted the use of Huawei’s equipment but Rome is yet to announce its stance. If the reports are true, it would seem Italy looks set to take a strong stance against the Chinese vendor.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Italy in September and warned that Huawei poses a threat to national security.
Back in January, the UK decided to allow Huawei’s gear but with restrictions on the percentage of equipment which can be used in any network. Another stipulation was that Huawei’s equipment cannot be installed near sensitive locations such as military bases and nuclear plants.
“Huawei is not a sort of ordinary international telecommunications company, it’s an intimate part of the Chinese state,” former MI6 head Sir Richard Dearlove told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge in July. “And if you know anything about Chinese military strategy, they talk about the fusion of civil and military capabilities.”
Following another security review, the UK decided to ban Huawei’s equipment after deeming the risk too high in the wake of US sanctions which prevented the vendor’s access to American technology.
Several other countries announced bans on Huawei’s equipment in the months after the UK reassessed its position.
Last week, Sweden banned Huawei and ZTE from its rollout of 5G networks. In a statement, the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority said that the “influence of China’s one-party state over the country’s private sector brings with it strong incentives for privately-owned companies to act in accordance with state goals and the communist party’s national strategies.”
The UK has launched consultations with its close allies – particularly those within the Five Eyes security relationship – to fund and procure alternatives to Huawei’s equipment.
Huawei has rejected all the allegations that it poses a security threat and has offered in several countries, including Italy, to undergo any scrutiny to prove its equipment is safe to use.
The Associated Press is reporting that Bulgaria, Kosovo, and North Macedonia have joined the so-called ‘clean network’ effort launched by the US. The EU has so far avoided taking an official stance on the matter.
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