Vodafone Group CEO Nick Read (pictured) announced the operator would remove Huawei equipment from its core networks across Europe at a cost of €200 million, while welcoming decisions by authorities to encourage different policies for core and RAN equipment.
The move comes a year after the operator placed a hold on the purchase and installation of new Huawei core network equipment in its European networks.
During the company’s fiscal Q3 trading update (calendar Q4 2019), Read said the policy to strip would only significantly impact operations on mainland Europe and comes following recent political statements.
Last week the UK Government finally clarified its stance on Huawei, while the European Commission released a best practice guideline, which made framework recommendations but placed the onus on individual EU countries to allow or ban specific vendors.
Both fell well short of outright bans and acknowledged a difference between the requirements for core and RAN assets.
During Vodafone’s update, Read warned any EU state placing a wholesale ban on Huawei would likely experience a slowdown in investment for 5G infrastructure, as planned CAPEX would have to be reallocated to removing existing RAN equipment.
Elsewhere, Read said the company was progressing well with measures to reduce operating expenses, integrate assets acquired from Liberty Global in 2019, and create a company to house tower assets in Europe.
Vodafone is still assessing the viability of an IPO of its new tower business, with the executive stating the float was likely to take place in early 2021 should it be deemed the best option.
Group revenue in the quarter of €11.8 million was up 6.8 per cent year-on-year. Net profit is not disclosed on a quarterly basis.
Read said despite the value segment in Europe remaining “challenging”, it had improved broadband sales and customer loyalty on the continent. It also booked gains in service revenue from its Rest of the World revenue, which includes subsidiary Vodacom.