According to a recent BBC report, British Telecom (BT) and Vodafone say three years or less is too small to remove Huawei from their 5G network. According to the operators, customers will face mobile signal disruption if they use less than 3 years to remove Huawei. The operators made it clear to UK MPs that they need at least five years. In fact, seven years is preferable. The British government will soon announce restrictions on the use of Huawei’s equipment. However, the Chinese manufacturer is urging the UK government to take more time.
Jeremy Thompson, Huawei’s vice president in the UK, said: “There isn’t a burning bridge,”. There should be no rush to decision making. The hearing before the Science and Technology Committee is the last chance for British telecoms firms to appeal to the government before it makes a decision.
Operators like EE has less to worry about, it uses Nokia’s equipment to provide 3G services. Thus, 3G signals would not be affected. However, Vodafone uses Huawei equipment on its 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G networks.
Howard Watson, BT’s chief technology and information officer, said, “To get to zero in a three-year period would literally mean blackouts for customers on 4G and 2G, as well as 5G, throughout the country,”.
Andrea Dona, Vodafone UK’s head of networks added “[Customers] would lose their signal, sometimes for a couple of days, depending on how big or how intrusive the work to be carried out is…I would say a five-year transition time would be the minimum,”
Mr. Watson added: “A minimum of five years, ideally seven.”
Huawei has a stockpile of chips and other equipment
For Huawei, the U.S is just in a hurry to ditch out the ban and it has no confirmation of some details. The Chinese manufacturer already has chips that could last the company for some time.
Jeremy Thompson said, “We can supply orders to our customers and provide spares for our existing network. In terms of alternative (chip) suppliers, they are not just Chinese companies. There are also European companies in this field. We will share those (details) with you, but that will take a few weeks.”
The BBC believes that Vodafone and BT are softening their stance on the Huawei ban. Initially, these operators were strongly against any plan to exclude Huawei. Now, it appears that all they need is time. Of course, they are bowing to the pressure in the political scene.