Telefonica Deutschland: We have 5G backup plan in case of Huawei ban

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BERLIN (Reuters) – Telefonica Deutschland said on Wednesday it had taken steps to ensure it can build its 5G mobile network should China’s Huawei Technologies be excluded from the German market on national security grounds. The leading national mobile operator by customer numbers last year struck preliminary deals with Huawei and Nokia to build its 5G radio access network, which it plans to launch towards the end of 2020. This is subject to certification of the vendors under rules that have not yet been finalised. As a back-up, Telefonica Deutschland has signed contracts with other suppliers who could step in if Huawei is excluded, CEO Markus Haas said. “We have contracts with all the main vendors and would be in a position to make a switch within a few weeks,” Haas told reporters on a conference call after Telefonica Deutschland reported a 5% drop in second quarter profits. Telefonica Deutschland’s wait-and-see approach contrasts with that taken by Deutsche Telekom, which has pressed ahead with building its 5G network largely on the basis of its existing agreements with Huawei. Deutsche Telekom said this week its 5G network now reached 40 million people in Germany – nearly half the population. Huawei faces an …

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