Canadian Concern Over Telus, Bell’s Huawei Partnership: “More Downside Risk than Upside”

An editorial on The Globe and Mail by Andrew Willis earlier this week argued Telus and Bell should changing their 5G conversation with Huawei, instead of lobbying support for the controversial Chinese company.

Telus bell huawei

“Rather than fighting for the right to include Huawei in their futures, the country’s second- and third-largest wireless providers need to find the smoothest possible path to networks built with someone else’s gear. Because no companies have more to gain from the transition to ultra-fast telecom platforms than Telus and BCE,” wrote Willis.

In response to The Globe and Mail editorial, readers of the publication shared their thoughts, with a selection of responses shared in a new article.

According to one reader, “George Bay”, he writes:

Concern about Huawei has been in the news for years. BCE and Telus have courted the risk of installing Huawei product that they knew, or ought to have known, could be banned. They have wasted shareholder value. Their continued lobbying exacerbates the waste, and could lead to consumer resentment further worsening matters. If they spend a dollar on Huawei equipment tomorrow, it is another shareholder dollar put to known excess risk.

Another reader named “Yolette Dorilas” said:

After reading the Telus article in support of Huawei I sold all of my Telus and BCE stock. With their approach to Huawei and current earning multiples there is much more downside risk than upside.

Prime Minister Trudeau’s government has not announced whether Huawei will be banned or not, yet. The decision’s timeline is still “beyond weeks” away, and looks to be announced until after the U.S. extradition case with arrested Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou is complete.

Reader “tip2” wrote to the Globe:

I think the government has already decided but there’s no need to let the public know yet. They’re drinking coffee and eating doughnuts and when they’ve waited a sufficient amount of time, they’ll make the announcement. After all Canada makes decisions independently and it would not be in it’s best interests to be viewed as a lackey of the US by responding every time they bark. It’s unlikely the government has the technical savvy to decide or they would have done so a long time ago. This decision will be entirely political.

Telus and Bell have been lobbying Canadian regulators to maintain Huawei as a 5G supplier, noting the latter is considered a safe bet. If there is a ban, consumers could face higher costs and a longer wait for a 5G network. Telus recently said a Huawei 5G ban would be a “lost opportunity” for the company.

According to Drew McReynolds at RBC Capital Markets, estimates for Telus and Bell to rip out existing Huawei 3G and 4G equipment, could cost upwards of $2 billion dollars.

What do you think? Should Telus and Bell stick with Huawei or not?