Deutsche Telekom tells Nokia to shape up with Huawei ban looming

German company reportedly giving Nokia a chance despite considering it the worst 5G performer

Deutsche Telekom has allegedly told Nokia to improve its products and services in a leaked internal document that suggests the German company is worried about a potential ban on Huawei.

Europe's biggest telecoms provider has reportedly dropped Nokia as a supplier of radio gear from all but one of its markets in Germany, according to Reuters which claims to have seen the documents and spoken to people familiar with the matter. 

The leaked document details talks between Deutsche's vendor management team and Nokia between July and November last year, according to Reuters, and it apparently shows that the German company considered Nokia the worst performer among all suppliers in 5G tests and deployments. 

Despite the reported efforts of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, her government is likely to block Huawei from the nation's 5G networks, with attempts to reach an agreement, similar to the UK and EU, having failed, according to Bloomberg

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Huawei is the dominant supplier of network equipment for Deutsche, but with the threat of restrictions being placed on the Chinese company, it has reportedly decided to give Nokia another chance. 

"It is well known that Deutsche Telekom is pursuing a multi-vendor strategy so that we are not dependent on just one supplier," said Claudia Nemat, board member technology & innovation, Deutsche Telekom. "This is an elementary part of our security philosophy. However, as in the past, Deutsche Telekom will not comment on individual contractual relationships and strategic purchasing decisions", 

"In 2019 we have made many steps together with Nokia to make Deutsche Telekom's networks evolve towards 5G readiness, including all network domains, from radio and fixed access to transport and core, and continue to do so in 2020 and onwards"

"We have been a long-term partner of Deutsche Telekom and have been proud to work with them extensively over the years, providing leading network technology and services. We continue to work extensively with Deutsche Telekom which is one of our most significant customers, both in Europe and the U.S.", said Federico Guillén, president of customer operations, EMEA & APAC, Nokia.

The UK's decision to allow Huawei "limited" access to its 5G networks was also based on security advice, according to the government.

In the run-up to the final say on Huawei, Prime Minister Boris Johnson also lamented the lack of options saying: "If people oppose one brand or another then they have to tell us what is the alternative, right?"

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Many have pointed out that Huawei was always going to be granted some access because it was already so heavily used by most of the UK's major telecoms provider, but the German government seems to be leaning more towards the US and its heavy-handed approach to the Chinese telecoms technology provider. 

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