Huawei may not be a favorite of the US government right now, but the Chinese telecoms giant isn’t finding much more comfort north of the border either, as Canadian carriers snub it in their 5G plans. Both Bell Canada and TELUS have confirmed which companies they’re working with on their 5G deployment, and Huawei’s name is conspicuous by its absence.
Huawei’s problems in the US kicked into high gear when the Trump Administration placed the company onto a trade ban list. Citing concerns that Huawei was working with Chinese security services, and allegedly installing backdoor access into devices being sold to American companies, the new blockade left Huawei unable to offer Android devices with the full Google app suite, and limited the companies it could do business with.
At the same time, it was a dark cloud over Huawei’s telecoms infrastructure ambitions. While the company may be best-known among smartphone users for its handsets, such as the recently-announced Huawei P40 Pro, it’s also a key supplier of 4G and 5G network hardware. With just about every carrier worldwide looking to their 5G roll-out, that could’ve been a huge potential source of income – and of market pressure – for Huawei.
That won’t be happening, however, or at least not in Canada. Bell Canada confirmed this week that it would be using Ericsson’s radio access network (RAN) for its nation-wide 5G wireless network. The two companies have already worked together on Bell’s 4G LTE network.
Meanwhile, TELUS has also named its 5G partners, and again Huawei is nowhere to be seen. Instead, it’ll be working with Ericsson and Nokia.
It’s a double-whammy of 5G bad news for Huawei, which had already been slighted earlier in the year in Canada. Back in mid-January, carrier Rogers announced it would be partnering with Ericsson for its 5G deployment. The two companies have worked together since Rogers first launched its wireless services, back in 1985.
The three decisions seem particularly pointed given Huawei’s attempts to court global carriers in the 2019 financial year, particularly when it comes to rural 5G coverage. That’s something Canadian carriers have been tasked with prioritizing, filling in gaps in service that have plagued areas outside of urban centers. Bell, for example, plans to expand its 5G-based Wireless Home Internet service into small towns and rural areas.
Huawei has previously supplied 4G LTE equipment to Bell and TELUS, and had been working with Bell on long-distance cellular coverage technologies using massive-MIMO to deliver wireless broadband service.