STOCKHOLM - A 1 Telekom Austria Group, an unit of Carlos Slim's America Movil, considered Chinese vendors such as Huawei and ZTE to launch 5 G networks in several countries, a top executive said today.
Following Western pressure, European governments have tightened controls on Chinese firms that build 5 G networks, but Telekom Austria has not seen any tension in most European countries it operates in.
The United States accuses Huawei of facilitating Chinese spying - a claim that company and Beijing deny.
In an interview with Chinese vendors, Alejandro Plater told Reuters that it was very important for us to have markets where we can test the performance of different networks in real time.
Not only is Chinese technology cheaper, but it has features that are better than their European counterpart, making it competitive, he said.
Telekom Austria has 25 million customers across Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, Republic of Serbia and Republic of North Macedonia.
It already uses 4 G radio-access networks from European vendors in Bulgaria and North Macedonia for Chinese networks and equipment from local vendors like Ericsson and Nokia in countries such as Austria.
We cannot have two options, plates said.
But North Macedonia has tightened its Telecom Rules, with a framework on 5 G networks that asks operators to eventually replace untrusting vendors.
As a NATO member, North Macedonia will adapt to the standards of other member states of the Alliance with these regards, said a North Macedonian government representative.
On Tuesday, a Swedish court upheld a ban on Huawei from offering 5 G equipment in the country, stoking the hopes of the company to stage a comeback in Europe.
We have launched 5 G in Slovenia and we could launch in Austria, Bulgaria at any time, and for other countries we are still waiting to get the spectrum, Plater said.
The delay in auctioning for 5 G spectrum airwaves necessary for operators to start offering commercial 5 G has been one of the largest obstacles for a rollout in several countries across Europe.