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Huawei’s Woes in Europe Grow as Balkan Telecom Giant Mulls Removing Its Gear

Ding Yi / Mar 11, 2021 06:35 PM / World

United Group has become the latest European telecoms company to consider completely or partly removing Huawei’s equipment from its network, deepening the Chinese tech giant’s woes in Europe where Washington is pressing more allies to take similar actions.

“I think a gradual and measured switch to something that is more U.S.-approved is the right approach, and it is one that we are considering,” United Group chairman Nikos Stathopoulos told Reuters recently.

The move may wreak havoc on Huawei’s businesses in Europe as the Balkan telecoms giant operates in several European countries including Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, Greece and Serbia providing a wide range of services including mobile, cable TV, broadband internet and fixed telephony.

Stathopoulos also said that his company “should also receive financial help (from governments) for switching to new infrastructure.”

According to Reuters, many mobile operators in East and Southeast Europe had traditionally preferred Huawei’s equipment to those from the likes of Nokia and Ericsson for cost-saving reasons.

In recent years, European governments have toughened their positions on Chinese-built 5G networks, following a call from the U.S., which labels Huawei’s telecoms equipment a threat to its national security, an allegation Huawei strongly denies.

A week ago, Bloomberg reported that phone companies including Altice Europe NV’s SFR unit and Bouygues Telecom had begun removing Huawei’s wireless equipment from France’s densely populated areas.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: France’s Huawei Ban Begins to Kick In With Purge in Urban Areas

 


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