REUTERS/Yves Herman

Orange will replace Huawei equipment with Nokia products in Belgium

Telecom operators Orange Belgium and Proximus have decided to gradually replace equipment for cellular networks manufactured by Huawei in Belgium and Luxembourg with Nokia equipment, informed sources told Reuters.

REUTERS / Yves Herman

According to sources, the decision to replace was made due to strong pressure from the United States, which claims that Huawei equipment could be used by Beijing for espionage. China and Huawei have denied the US espionage allegations, calling them unfounded and unsubstantiated. However, the capital of Belgium, Brussels, is the seat of the executive body and the parliament of the European Union, which makes it a strategic location under the special control of the US intelligence services.

Orange and Proximus’ solution, sharing a single network infrastructure, represents one of the first cases in Europe in which commercial operators are phasing out Huawei equipment for their next generation (5G) mobile networks under external pressure and are beginning to replace it.

Proximus and Orange Belgium last year signed a mobile network sharing agreement, so the decision to switch to Nokia was a collective decision.

At the end of last month, Nokia also announced a deal with Britain’s largest mobile operator BT for the supply of equipment for 5G networks.

Orange Belgium has partnered with Huawei since 2007 to deploy its mobile network in Belgium and Luxembourg. In 2009, Proximus selected equipment from a Shenzhen-based company to gradually upgrade its network.

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