Italian government steps in to stop Huawei deal

News

Reuters reports telecoms firm Fastweb was prevented from signing a contract with Huawei for its 5G core network.

The Trump Administration has been lobbying Italy as one of Europe's biggest economies to ban the use of Huawei equipment in its infrastructure, but until now it has not intervened.

The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, described Chinese mobile telecoms technology as a threat to Italy's national security on an official visit to Italy in September.

Apparently the decision regarding Fastweb was taken in a Cabinet meeting late last week.

Government intervention

Fastweb is owned by Swisscom, the Swiss incumbent, and had opted for Huawei as the sole supplier for its 5G core network, according to Reuters’ sources.

Reuters quotes a source from the Prime Minister's office said the government intends to assess whether Huawei can play a role in Italy’s 5G core networks.

There are suggestions that without being so blatant, in fact Rome is adopting the US line regarding Huawei.

Belt and road…

Last year Italy was the first major Western economy to join China's international infrastructure project, the Belt and Road Initiative, which did not play well in Washington.

Joining the initiative appears to have had little effect, but it is urging greater caution in dealing with Chinese 5G suppliers and issuing more stringent and prescriptive guidelines.

In July, TIM, the Italian incumbent, excluded Huawei from an RFT to supply 5G core network equipment.

…belt and braces

Reuters cites industry sources that claim telcos themselves have introduced get-out clauses in 5G deals with Huawei. This is in case the government Rome stipulates costly measures in the deployment of the Chinese vendors’