CEO George Cope Confident BCE Will Be Able to Offer Huawei ‘Non-Core’ Access to Upcoming 5G Network

The BCE’s chief executive believes that allowing Huawei limited access to the country’s upcoming 5G network is a viable option.

According to a new report from The Globe and Mail, BCE CEO George Cope believes that Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei will have access to “non-core” parts of Canada’s upcoming 5G wireless network.

“In the end, on Huawei, my instincts would be that it will be [banned in] the core, which is what most of the other countries are talking about,” Cope said in an interview. “We’ve always supported that view because that’s been our view since we started to use Huawei.”

The CEO believes that the company should be restricted to “non-core” parts of the network, an option that the UK recently chose in the push for its upcoming 5G network. This approach has gained traction despite the fact that the United States continues to pressure its allies to ban the Chinese firm due to concerns that it could be used for spying for the Chinese government.

Ottawa is currently conducting a security review of the viability of using Huawei’s 5G tech, and a decision on the matter is expected in a matter of a few months, before the October election.

The ruling will obviously be an important one for carriers like BCE and Telus, both of which have used Huawei telecom tech in their existing networks.

Canada’s 5G security review is drawing heightened interest amid a rising diplomatic feud sparked by the arrest – at the request of the US – of Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou on December 1. China has since seized two Canadians, including a former diplomat, and sentenced a third to death.

If Canada does indeed ban the company, it would join countries including the United States, Australia, and New Zealand that have blocked or limited the use of Huawei equipment. Germany and other European governments have also been weighing whether to place restrictions over concerns that Chinese intelligence could use the networks to spy on other countries, fears the company has dismissed.