AT&T CEO says China’s Huawei hinders the carriers of the shifting of suppliers for 5G

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – AT&T Inc Chief Executive Randall Stephenson said Wednesday that the chinese Huawei Technologies Co Ltd is making it very difficult for the European carriers to drop the company from its supply chain for the next-generation 5G wireless service.

FILE PHOTO: An AT&T logo is displayed on an at&T building in New York City, October 23, 2016. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith/File Photo

“If you’ve used Huawei if your 4G network, Huawei is not that interoperability up to 5G — meaning if you have 4G, you are stuck with Huawei for 5G,” said Stephenson at a speech in Washington. “When the Europeans say that we have a problem — that is their problem. They really don’t have a option to go to someone else.”

The United States, the pressure on other countries to drop Huawei from their networks. Stephenson said the U.S. government could do a better job of explaining the security risks of Huawei. “The biggest risk is not that the Chinese government could listen in on our calls to me or our data if we use their equipment,” Stephenson said.

Within a decade, 5G drive all the AMERICAN factories, utilities, refineries, traffic management, and help underpin autonomous vehicles. “If that much of the infrastructure will be to this type of technology, we want to be careful with that of the underlying company behind that technology. We damn well better be,” Stephenson said.

Huawei did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

The United States warns that the next generation of 5G equipment, that a number of telecom experts see as more vulnerable to attack than the previous technology, could be exploited by the Chinese government for espionage, if it is provided by Huawei.

Huawei has grown rapidly to become the world’s largest maker of telecom equipment, and is embedded in the mobile networks and 5G plans of many European operators. It denies that its technology poses a security risk.

In the United States, 5G networks will be largely built in the Scandinavian equipment manufacturers Ericsson and Nokia , and Strayer said that there are safer alternatives to Huawei.

The United States has also alleged Huawei violated the sanctions on Iran and stole the intellectual property. There is no evidence of espionage was introduced to the public, even if control Huawei has intensified, and several Western countries are limited by the firm’s access to their markets.

German chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday Germany was not planning to exclude one company from the 5G auction per se, but wanted the bidders in mobile spectrum auction to comply with certain requirements.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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