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Huawei row is delaying Europe’s 5G rollout, says telco exec

US restrictions on Huawei, twinned with fears over the security of Chinese products, are hindering the deployment of 5G networks in Europe, according to a Swedish telecoms executive.

Anders Nilsson, the head of Sweden’s second largest telco, Tele2, has revealed that the network has been forced to postpone deals with vendors amid the fallout of the US-China trade war.

“We have a global supply chain, so whoever you buy equipment from you will find components from China. Even if we buy equipment from Ericsson, which is our neighbour here, you will find Chinese hardware and parts in that equipment,” he told Reuters. “We’re right now talking to all the vendors, but decisions are postponed. This is not only Huawei, this is all vendors.”

Donald Trump announced over the weekend that the US was to lift restrictions banning US firms from selling components to Huawei in light of an agreement to resume trade talks with Beijing.

“From our perspective, the main reason to do 5G right now is because it is a good way to build capacity, but we can continue building capacity in 4G,” Nilsson said ahead of the latest development. “So 5G is not something we need to do right now.”

In light of the restrictions being lifted, Nilsson added: “We follow the events with great interest, but it’s too early to take any firm decisions based on it.”

While some European telecom networks have been forced to push back plans for their 5G rollouts, UK telcos are already carrying out trials with Huawei components. Vodafone is set to on the first parts of its 5G network on Wednesday (3 July).