The Belgian subsidiary of Orange and the operator Proximus, in which the Belgian State is the majority shareholder, are in the process of gradually replacing their Huawei equipment with products from European manufacturers Nokia and Ericsson as part of the 5G deployment, report Reuters.
Operators evoke a technical choice
It is difficult not to see in this choice a consequence of the accusations of espionage brought by the United States. Orange officially refers to "an in-depth comparative process, based on technological, operational and financial criteria".
Same speech from the side of Proximus which chose Nokia "to gradually modernize its existing 2G / 3G / 4G networks by 2023", explains the incumbent operator in its press release. "For the core part of the mobile data network, Proximus chose Ericsson for its dual-mode 5G core," he continues.
For Huawei, this is yet another blow. The contracts signed by Proximus and Orange are traditionally spread over 10 years and represent a few hundred million euros. But this decision also risks slowing the deployment of 5G in Belgium because Huawei was ahead of its European competitors.
UK ousts Huawei
The noose is tightening for Huawei. In July 2020, the United Kingdom excluded the Chinese equipment manufacturer from the 5G network, arguing a security risk. "The best way to secure our network is for operators to stop using Huawei equipment to build the future UK 5G network", underlined Oliver Dowden, the minister responsible for culture and digital technology.
While it has not taken an official ban, France could still ban Huawei from its 5G networks. The public authorities will not issue an extension to French operators wishing to buy 5G equipment from Huawei. Result: by 2028, the Chinese giant could be completely ousted from French 5G networks.