UK-based Vodafone Group has warned that the British government’s desire to lead the way in the development of 5G could be hampered if it decides to order the removal of Huawei equipment from the country’s existing infrastructure. Reuters cites a statement received from Scott Petty, chief technology officer of the group’s domestic unit, Vodafone UK, in which he said: ‘The UK’s leadership in 5G will be lost if mobile operators are forced to spend time and money replacing existing equipment’.
Instead, the executive claims the state should make efforts to expand 5G coverage and invest in the next phase of the technology, rather than focus on stripping out Huawei’s equipment. With Vodafone UK already working with the likes of Swedish vendor Ericsson, it is also said to be testing equipment from other new suppliers. To that end, Petty noted: ‘We are not tied to one supplier, but it is important to understand the extent of what is at stake here.’
The comments come after reports last month that British prime minister Boris Johnson was seeking to reduce Huawei’s involvement in the country’s 5G infrastructure. Meanwhile, earlier this month Reuters claimed that British officials had begun discussing supplies of 5G networking equipment with Japan’s NEC Corp and Samsung Electronics of South Korea, as part of plans to diversify the nation’s range of suppliers.