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Vodafone is in talks with the company and various agencies and governments, following the pause on buying Huawei equipment for its core network.

Read said that if it were the case that Huawei equipment needed to be replaced in its core network it would not be particularly expensive or disruptive.

United Kingdom -based Vodafone, one of the world's biggest mobile carriers, uses Huawei in the core of its Spanish network and some other smaller markets, Read said.

Huawei maintains that its products do not pose a security risk, and that it has no ties to the Chinese government.

Finland's Nokia and Swedish telecoms company Ericsson are the leading two European competitors who could provide 5G telecoms equipment for Poland, the largest economy in eastern Europe. "We were the first to make breakthroughs in key technologies for large-scale 5G commercial use", said Ding Yun, Huawei executive director of the Board and Carrier BG chief executive.

Huawei uses its own chipsets in its high-end phones and servers but said it does not intend to become a standalone chip vendor to rival the likes of Qualcomm and Intel Corp.

Huawei's Richard Yu
Huawei’s Richard Yu

Europe's mobile service providers would face higher costs and delays to faster networks if authorities imposed a blanket ban on Huawei equipment, particularly the radio technology deployed on mobile towers, Vodafone's Nick Read said.

Vodafone said competition in the Spanish and Italian markets had moderated through the quarter. However, if it came to pass that Huawei equipment could not be used in its radio access networks - the towers and equipment for 4G and 5G networks - the impact would be huge.

The Vodafone boss said Huawei has a 35 per cent market share in Europe, adding: "There needs to be a diversity of suppliers". He didn't mention Huawei by name, or Vodafone's announcement on Friday, but was responding to a question about the recent global crackdown on the Chinese supplier.

Huawei officials met the Polish government this week to address security concerns.

Governments and telecoms firms around the world are in a race to deploy so-called 5G or fifth generation networks, with commercial services already available in the US and South Korea.

"We regret that decisions of this sort are being taken as a result of ill-informed and unfounded discourse about Huawei", it said.

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