Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins speaking at Cisco Live! 2018 Cisco LIve! 2018 video stream
Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins speaking at Cisco Live! 2018

Cisco CEO Suggests Fear of Huawei 5G Dominance Is Overblown

Says future infrastructure will be built on combination of equipment from suppliers from different countries, as it's built today.

Hailey Waller (Bloomberg) -- Cisco Systems Inc. Chief Executive Officer Chuck Robbins suggested governments shouldn’t worry that Huawei Technologies Co. will dominate the race to build 5G wireless networks.

“The current infrastructure around the world is built on a combination of communication suppliers from Europe, from China, from the U.S., everywhere,” Robbins said in a CNN interview on Sunday. “And I think that despite everything that we hear, I think that’s going to be the case in the future as well.”

The U.S. is seeking to discourage purchases of equipment from Huawei and is pressing European governments to do the same, saying it’s a gateway for Chinese spying. China rejects U.S. allegations that its laws require companies to help collect intelligence.

While major western equipment manufacturers specialize in different areas of next-generation mobile gear, Shenzhen-based Huawei competes in both wide-area radio technology and core network equipment, Robbins said. Even so, “there’s not going to be one manufacturer” providing 5G equipment, he said.

President Donald Trump’s administration has stepped up its campaign in Europe, Huawei’s biggest market outside China, where governments in the U.K., Germany, France and elsewhere are deliberating whether to restrict its gear from the network upgrade.

In Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has declined to impose an outright ban on Huawei equipment.

On another front, Canada began extradition proceedings last week for Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou on U.S. charges she lied to banks to trick them into processing transactions for Huawei that potentially violated Iran trade sanctions.

Cisco, the biggest maker of computer networking equipment, is one of Huawei’s main competitors. The San Jose, California-based company posted the fifth consecutive period of year-over-year expansion in the quarter that ended Jan. 26.

The U.K. is considering capping wireless companies’ use of Huawei gear after a government review of telecom infrastructure, the Financial Times reported. The review isn’t expected to delay the rollout of 5G networks because no mobile operator had planned to use Huawei as sole supplier, the newspaper said.

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