Vodafone Idea puts Huawei and ZTE on hold regarding its 5G plans

Huawei and ZTE Vi Vodafone Idea
Vi image courtesy Vodafone Idea

Vodafone Idea said that it has put its engagements with Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE on hold for its 5G network due to the uncertain environment resulting from Indian government policy.

However, Vodafone Idea says it is continuing to work with the Chinese vendors for its existing core, transport and 4G wireless network.

“There’s a huge legacy of Huawei and ZTE in this country with the networks they provide support to us on. So I think that work continues, whether it’s fixed core or transport infrastructure,” the company’s managing director Ravinder Takkar was quoted as saying by the Economic Times.

“What is clear to us is that we have to obviously follow the government guidelines and mandate,” he added. “We have to make sure that those are followed to the strictest level.”

While the Indian government, hasn’t officially banned Chinese vendors such as Huawei and ZTE from 5G network deployments, there remains uncertainty over their participation in upcoming 5G network deployments in the country due to allegations of their involvement in cyber-snooping on behalf of the Chinese government.

Bharti Airtel has started reducing its exposure to Chinese vendors for its wireless network by replacing their equipment with gear from European vendors like Nokia and Ericsson.

Meanwhile, Takkar said that Vodafone Idea is now closely following Open RAN-related developments globally. He said that the telco’s promoter shareholder group, Vodafone Group, has done a lot of work in the Open RAN space and is one of the few telcos to have deployed Open RAN technology commercially which is now serving customers.

“Obviously, we learn a lot from that on what products they’re using, what vendors they’re using, and we are in discussions with all of them. So, we obviously see that as an opportunity,” he said.

Takkar added that Vodafone Idea will look at Open RAN as a way to maintain vendor diversity and bring down network deployment cost in future.

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