In an interview with the media, the chairman of China Telecom’s Italian branch said that despite the recent rejection of the bid to provide a new generation of 5G technology, Huawei Technologies still cooperates with Telecom Italia (TLIT.MI).
Luigi De Vecchis said that the recent decision of Telecom Italia (TIM) to exclude Huawei from providing a new generation of 5G services is a “commercial” decision. Unlike the United Kingdom, he said that China Telecom Group’s exclusion of 5G services is “geopolitical. Not a technical decision.
“We respect the decision (by TIM), which is of a commercial not a political nature, that concerns one of the many parts of the network,” De Vecchis said in an interview with Corriere Economia, the weekly business magazine of Corriere della Sera, published on Monday.
Telecom Italia this month left Huawei out of an invitation to tender for a contract to supply 5G equipment for core network infrastructure, where sensitive data is processed, in Italy and Brazil.
“Of course we’re sorry, it’s not a party but we continue to work with TIM as well as with Vodafone and others,” De Vecchis said.
Huawei has not played any role in the construction of TIM’s existing core network in Italy. However, the Chinese group has been providing equipment to a former Italian mobile phone franchise to establish part of its current radio access network, which is to connect smartphones to the radio and antenna of the mobile network.
The US government has urged allies to exclude Huawei from its next-generation communications infrastructure, as this may provide China with a strategic opportunity to monitor the West. Huawei rejected these allegations.
Last year, Italy passed a legislation that gave the government special powers to review 5G supply transactions between domestic companies and non-EU providers, including the EU, but did not go further in prohibiting the Chinese supplier far.
“Italy is dealing with the cybersecurity issue in a professional manner,” De Vecchis said, adding that Europe would suffer significant damage if it follows U.S. calls to exclude Huawei.