China’s Huawei Has ‘Top Notch’ Equipment, ‘Great Partner’ Says New Bell CEO

Bell Canada’s new CEO, Mirko Bibic, gave an interview with BNN Bloomberg’s Amanda Lang yesterday about the state of wireless and more.

Bibic said a race for cheap wireless prices in Canada would be “really bad public policy”, while he also touched on working with China’s Huawei in the same interview.

According to Bibic, Bell sees a “tremendous growth opportunity” with 5G and the company is future-proofing its network. Bell says it spends $4 billion in capital investments in Canada every year.

When asked 5G vendors and Huawei, Bibic said the company wants “optionality in our supply chain.”

The CEO added, “Huawei has been one of our suppliers for 4G and LTE and they’ve been a great partner. Their equipment is top notch. That’s why in large part we have world leading networks today.”

The Canadian government has yet to decide whether or not to allow Huawei 5G equipment for next-generation networks.

Security concerns regarding Huawei’s ties to the Chinese Communist Party have resulted in Australia banning the company from 5G contracts, while the U.S. has labeled Huawei a threat to national security. European governments and the UK have similar fears about Huawei’s potential for espionage.

The arrest of Huawei CFO, Meng Wanzhou, in Vancouver last year, has added to the tension of whether the Chinese company should be allowed to partake in 5G networks.

“Ultimately, what we would like is clarity,” said Bibic, referring to the federal government’s lack of decision on the Huawei 5G matter.

Bibic said “regardless of outcome we will adjust,” referring to the government’s eventual decision on Huawei.

Bell’s newly minted CEO says with the upcoming 3.5GHz spectrum auction for 5G airwaves later year, “real primetime for 5G” to be commercialized will come in 2021.

Rival wireless carrier, Rogers, will be using 5G gear from Sweden’s Ericsson, while Telus, like Bell, has its 4G hardware from Huawei. Telus said last year a ban on Huawei 5G would be seen as a “lost opportunity.”

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