Soften blow for ousting Huawei by cutting 5G prices, telecoms firms urge ministers
TELECOMS firms have urged ministers to slash the price they pay to buy 5G bandwidth so they can avoid hiking bills to cover a £2bn hit from ripping out Huawei equipment.
The lobbying comes after Chinese communications titan Huawei re- vealed it earned 454bn yuan (£51bn) in the first half of 2020, up 13.1pc from a year earlier despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Some of the UK’s largest mobile operators are asking ministers to intervene in Ofcom’s next spectrum auction, where they buy ultra-fast 5G internet coverage. The firms want prices cut, offsetting the steep cost of removing existing 4G and 5G equipment which has been estimated at almost £2bn.
Ministers are today expected to introduce a 2025 deadline for operators to strip out all Huawei equipment from their 5G networks. Industry insiders say networks hope a drop in prices at the November 5G auction could help them avoid passing on the cost of removing equipment to millions of ordinary customers through higher bills.
Referring to the removal of Huawei equipment, Philip Jansen, BT chief executive, said yesterday: “If you get into a situation where [replacing] things need to go very, very fast, then you’re into a situation where potentially a service for 24 million BT group mobile customers is put into question – outages would be possible.”