January 29, 2019 / 10:14 AM / 6 months ago

Deutsche Telekom reviews procurement plans amid Huawei concerns

FRANKFURT, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Deutsche Telekom said on Tuesday it is reviewing its network equipment procurement plans after the United States moved to restrict China's Huawei Technologies from accessing its next-generation mobile networks.

Huawei is at the centre of a diplomatic row after U.S. officials briefed Western allies that Huawei's network equipment may contain "back doors" which enable cyber espionage. Huawei says such concerns are unfounded.

"Deutsche Telekom takes the global debate surrounding the security of Chinese network equipment very seriously. We have a multi-vendor strategy for network equipment. We are nonetheless reassessing our procurement strategy," Telekom said on Tuesday.

Bloomberg, citing an internal assessment, on Tuesday reported that Deutsche Telekom feared Europe could fall behind in the race to install the next generation of wireless networks if governments ban Huawei.

Tensions between the U.S. authorities and Huawei increased after the Justice Department announced criminal charges against the company and its chief financial officer.

Huawei, once a smaller rival of Nordic firms Nokia and Ericsson, is now a $93 billion global market leader in an industry where there is no U.S. champion.

The German government is debating whether to follow the United States and allies like Australia in restricting China's Huawei Technologies from accessing its next-generation mobile networks on national-security grounds.

Earlier this month, Washington lawmakers introduced bills seeking to ban the sale of U.S. chips or other components to Huawei, ZTE Corp or other Chinese telecommunications companies that violate U.S. sanctions or export control laws.

Reporting by Matthias Inverardi Writing by Edward Taylor Editing by Keith Weir

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