The Spanish telecoms company’s decision to diversify its suppliers is a “purely technical decision”, says chief technology and information officer (CTIO) Enrique Blanco

Telefonica Deutschland last week selected Huawei to provide radio access network (RAN) technology for its German 5G rollout. However, the ongoing political unrest surrounding Huawei and issues of security mean that decisions regarding the more sensitive core technologies are somewhat more convoluted. 
The new year will see a significant reduction in the amount of equipment Telefonica purchases from Huawei for use in the core of its planned 5G networks, Telefonica Group’s CTIO has suggested. Instead, multiple vendors will be used to provide this key technology.
Huawei is currently Telafonica’s sole supplier for its core 4G networks in the key markets of Spain and Germany, but this new approach to the upcoming 5G networks would see that end by 2024.
Having found no evidence of Huawei technology posing a security risk, Blanco insists that this decision is a purely practical one. The use of equipment from multiple vendors protects against the chance of overall network failure. “When the core comes from a single vendor, the probability is high that a failure in one part stops the whole network,” he explained. 
However, this decision also has significant implications for data security. This added diversity will provide the network with additional security, with no single vendor carrying all the information. “No vendor, regardless of their nationality, has all the information in their system,” Blanco said.
Local rivals Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom have similarly announced the selection of multiple vendors.
The German government is currently discussing legislation that could ban Huawei from the German market, the resolution of which will be critical to Telefonica Group’s next move in choosing suppliers.
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