CENTRO INTERNAZIONALE STUDI CONTAINERS
ANNO XXXVIII - Numero OTTOBRE 2020
ITALY VETOES 5G DEAL BETWEEN FASTWEB AND CHINA'S HUAWEI:
The decision, made at a cabinet meeting late on Thursday (22
October), marks the first time Italy has vetoed a supply deal over
5G core networks with Huawei.
"Italy has prevented telecoms group Fastweb from
signing a deal for Huawei to supply equipment for its 5G core
network, three sources close to the matter said, the clearest sign
yet Rome is adopting a tougher stance against the Chinese group."
Visiting Italy in September, U.S. Secretary of State Mike
Pom-peo described Chinese mobile telecoms technology as a threat to
Italy's national security.
Huawei strongly rejects the charges, and its Italian unit said
it was ready to undergo any scrutiny to show that its technology was
However at Thursday's meeting, the government used its special
vetting powers to block Fastweb, the Italian unit of Swisscom, from
implementing a supply deal with the firm in the most sensi-tive part
of its fifth generation mobile network, the sources said.
"The government has vetoed the operation, asking Fastweb to
diversify its suppliers," a senior government source told
Fastweb had picked Huawei as the sole supplier for its 5G core
network, sources said. Huawei and Fastweb both declined to comment.
A source from the Prime Minister's office said Rome also wants
to evaluate whether Huawei can play a role in 5G core networks.
While some U.S. allies, such as Britain, have announced bans on
Huawei equipment in future telecoms infrastructure, Italy has so far
declined to do so.
However, government and industry sources say Rome is de facto
adopting a more marked pro-U.S. line on 5G deals.
Italy raised hackles in Washington last year when it became the
first major Western economy to join China's international
infra-structure project, the Belt and Road Initiative.
The tie-up has so far yielded little economic gain and the
govern-ment has recently opted for increasingly stringent
prescriptions over Chinese 5G suppliers, which is forcing companies
to be more cautious about dealing with Huawei.
Measures imposed by the government on firms using Huawei
equipment on their 5G network include restrictions on remote
interventions to fix technical glitches and an extremely high
security threshold, two industry sources have said.
Italy's biggest phone group Telecom Italia (TIM) in July left
Huawei out of an invitation to tender for a contract to supply 5G
equipment for its core network, where sensitive data are proces-sed.
Telecommunications companies operating in Italy have introdu-ced
get-out clauses in 5G deals with Huawei, allowing them to withdraw
should Rome ask for costly requirements in exchange for its green
light, industry sources said.
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