Italian operator TIM has invited nearly everyone except Huawei do bid for work on its 5G core networks according to a report.
Reuters has been chatting to those handy ‘people familiar with the matter’ and they say that TIM has excluded Huawei from bidding for 5G core network business at its operations in Italy and Brazil. Ericsson, Nokia, Cisco, Mavenir and Affirmed Networks were invited to the party, however, which makes it hard to view this as anything other than a deliberate snub.
There wasn’t much else to the story at time of writing as neither TIM nor Huawei had gone on the record on the matter. It does seem to fit into a broader pattern of Italy steadily moving to distance itself from Huawei in recent days, much of which has also been documented by Reuters.
Yesterday Italian paper La Repubblica reported that Italy is considering banning Huawei from its 5G networks, having previously indicated it would do no such thing. There was no official comment from the Italian government, but an anonymous government source told Reuters the matter was definitely under discussion.
So it seems Italy is going through a similar review process to the UK, doubtless under US diplomatic pressure too. If that is the case then it makes sense for TIM to give Huawei a wide berth, at least until its government makes it mind up. In response to the reports, Huawei did its standard thing of urging the government not to act hastily or without evidence, but momentum in Europe seems to be against it right now.