Eir to stick with Huawei, remains ‘confident’ in the vendor’s security

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Eir: ‘Huawei rip and replace would be a costly endeavor for both carrier and customer’

Citing costly rip and replace measures, Irish carrier Eir said it plans to stick with Huawei as a vendor for its 5G network and continue following the EU recommendation that providers be thoroughly vetted. Currently, Eir uses a number of equipment vendors, with Ericsson providing the core and Huawei providing the radio access equipment.

Eir Chief Executive Carolan Lennon told CNBC that the carrier is “confident in the security of Huawei,” despite that accusations hurled at the Chinese company by the U.S. and others that it poses a security threat.

Lennon also commented on the 5G “toolbox” released in January by the executive arm of the EU, saying that is was a “coordinated approach to network security so that we would all respond proportionately to any risks in the 5G networks. That includes things like enhanced controls or a dual provider strategy.”

“We also manage and monitor our network ourselves with our own staff. We’re behind that EU proposal and in that EU proposal there’s no recommendation to ban any particular network provider,” Lennon continued.

Beyond the challenge of replacing all Huawei equipment, which Lennon called “a costly endeavor” for both carrier and customer, she added that should there be a change to the Commission’s stance on Huawei that no longer allows use of the vendor’s equipment, it would “absolutely slow down deployment […] just at a time when consumers and businesses need them the most.”

“We’re following the European Commission endorsement of the 5G toolbox and I’m not expecting that to change,” she concluded.

Eir is in the middle of a five-year 1-billion-euro investment strategy for expanding 5G coverage and broadband in rural and suburban areas.

In July, the U.K. told mobile network operators to strip Huawei gear by 2027, while in the U.S., Huawei has been cut off from accessing advanced computer chips, a move that CNN called “a deadly blow” to the Chinese company.

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