The Italian government vetoes the 5G cooperation between the telecommunications company Fastweb and Huawei. The USA accuses the Chinese supplier of spying for China.
Italy has prohibited the telecommunications company Fastweb from signing a contract for Huawei to supply equipment for its 5G core network. This was reported by Reuters, citing three insider sources. In a meeting late Thursday, the Italian cabinet decided to veto the supply agreement.
During his visit to Italy in September, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described Chinese mobile phone technology as a threat to Italy’s national security and recommended that the Italians reconsider their previous policy towards Huawei.
Huawei firmly rejects the accusations. The Italian branch office of Huaweis agreed to investigations to demonstrate the safety of its equipment.
However, at Thursday’s meeting, Italy declined to take up such an offer and used its special powers of investigation to conclude a supply contract with the Chinese company Fastweb, the Italian subsidiary of Swisscom.
“The government vetoed the operation and asked Fastweb to diversify its suppliers,” a senior government source told Reuters. Fastweb had previously chosen Huawei as its sole 5G equipment supplier. Huawei and Fastweb both declined to comment.
While some US allies, such as the UK, have announced bans on Huawei equipment in the future telecommunications infrastructure, Italy has so far refused to do so.
However, government sources say that Rome has now adopted a pro-American line on 5G deals. The Italian government has recently decided to impose increasingly strict regulations on Chinese 5G suppliers, forcing Italian companies to be more cautious in their dealings with Huawei.
Among the measures the government is imposing on companies using Huawei equipment on their 5G network are restrictions on remote intervention to correct technical faults and an extremely high safety threshold, according to two industry sources. Telecommunications companies operating in Italy have responded by introducing exit clauses in 5G deals with Huawei to provide security.
Italy was the first major Western economy to join the Chinese infrastructure project “Belt and Road Initiative” last year. However, the cooperation has so far brought little economic benefit.