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The logo of Huawei Technologies is seen outside the Chinese telecommunications equipment maker’s research facility in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, in February of last year. Photo: Reuters

Huawei snubbed by Canadian mobile network operators ahead of Trudeau’s crucial 5G call

  • Mobile network operators BCE and Telus Corp have selected European telecoms equipment suppliers for their 5G infrastructure
  • Those actions come ahead of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision on whether Huawei will take part in the country’s 5G roll-out
Two major Canadian telecommunications network operators said they will build out their next-generation 5G mobile networks with equipment from European providers, shunning China’s Huawei Technologies.
Montreal-based BCE said that Swedish telecoms gear supplier Ericsson will provide the radio access network equipment — comprising the critical antennas and base stations – for its 5G network. Telus Corp said in a separate statement that it has selected Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia “to support building” its network, without elaborating.
Those announcements come ahead of a closely watched – and long overdue – decision by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on whether to ban Huawei from taking part in the nation’s 5G infrastructure amid deeply troubled relations with Beijing. Huawei previously played a large role in Canadian wireless networks, but has faced growing national security concerns from Western governments.

Britain wants US to form a 10-nation 5G alliance to cut reliance on China’s Huawei

The Trump administration has lobbied allies to ban Huawei’s 5G gear, saying its equipment would make networks vulnerable to exploitation by the Chinese government. Despite that, the UK said in January it would allow Huawei a limited role. In recent days, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government has backtracked, saying it seeks to reduce reliance on the company’s technology and on China.

Telus and BCE awarded Huawei its first major project in North America in 2008 – a pivotal contract that helped cement the Chinese provider’s reputation as a global player that could compete on quality. The deal paved the way for it to become a major supplier to all three of Canada’s biggest telecoms companies over the next decade.

The Telus announcement comes as a particular surprise after the company’s chief financial officer, Doug French, told the National Post in February that “we’re going to launch 5G with Huawei out of the gate” by the end of this year.

Telus spokeswoman Donna Ramirez did not immediately respond to a question on whether the company’s announcement still leaves room for Huawei to participate in its 5G network roll-out. Representatives for Huawei Canada did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou leaves Canadian court after legal setback

Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou leaves Canadian court after legal setback
Trudeau has stalled on whether to ban Huawei. Tensions between the two countries have been rising since Canadian authorities arrested Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou on a US handover request in late 2018. After her arrest, China put two Canadian citizens in jail, halted billions of dollars in Canadian imports and put two other Canadians on death row.
The extradition proceedings against Meng, the eldest daughter of the company’s billionaire founder Ren Zhengfei, have pushed Canada’s relationship with its second biggest trading partner into its worst state in decades. Beijing has accused Canada of abetting a US-led “political persecution” against a national technology champion.