Eurobites: Trump to Use UK State Visit to Bang On About Huawei

Paul Rainford
5/31/2019

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Deutsche Telekom warns against buying Huawei smartphones; Telefónica casts around for rural connectivity ideas; CityFibre offers fiber to Cheltenham.

  • In between painful attempts at small-talk with the Queen and studiously ignoring the blimp flying somewhere above his extravagantly coiffured head, US President Donald Trump is planning to use his visit to the UK next week to cajole/bully the British government into banning Huawei completely from its 5G networks, according to a Financial Times report (paywall applies). Specifically, White House officials say Trump will threaten to limit intelligence-sharing with Britain if the UK gives Huawei even a partial green light on the 5G front. Last month Britain's National Security Council met to discuss this very question and decided to block Huawei equipment from the "core" parts of the network but allow it to play a part in the "non-core" bits. As far as Team Trump is concerned, this isn't good enough. Will the Brits crumble if such pressure is exerted? It could all depend on which of the uninspiring candidates succeeds in becoming the UK's next Prime Minister. (See Eurobites: UK Gives Huawei the Nod on 'Non-Core' 5G Network Elements and Huawei Stew Hits Boiling Point.)

  • And, related to the above, Deutsche Telekom has been telling its employees that the purchase of a Huawei smartphone is "currently not recommended," according to an internal letter seen by German newspaper Handelsblatt.

  • Spain's Telefónica is looking for bright ideas that could help tackle the problem of how to connect remote rural areas to the Internet. Those who think they might have something to contribute need to submit their proposals via the 2019 Internet para Todos Global Call platform by June 30.

  • African mobile masts company Eaton Towers, which owns and operates about 5,500 communications sites across five markets, is to be acquired by American Tower in a deal valued at US$1.85 billion. The deal is set to close by the end of 2019.

  • UK altnet CityFibre and its partner Bamboo Technology Group are offering full fiber connectivity to more than 200 businesses in Cheltenham, a town in south-west England, with the launch of a 16.65km network. In December CityFibre secured a debt package of £1.12 billion (US$1.41 billion) from seven major financial institutions to help it expand its existing fiber networks in 37 UK towns and cities. (See Eurobites: CityFibre Secures £1.12B for Fiber Rollout.)

  • Vodafone has appointed David Thodey as a non-executive director, with effect from September 1, subject to shareholder approval. Thodey spent 12 years at Australian operator Telstra, six of them as CEO, and prior to this held senior roles at IBM in the Asia-Pacific region.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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