BERLIN (Reuters) – Deutsche Telekom on Tuesday denied a report that it had intensified its business relationship with China’s Huawei despite security authorities’ warnings.
Handelsblatt newspaper earlier on Tuesday cited confidential documents as showing the German firm had increased its dependency on Huawei as a supplier for its 5G network and broadband expansion, cloud service and television offering.
It said Telekom had also asked Huawei to give it a technological edge in Germany over its competitors to make it the country’s top 5G network provider.
It added that the two firms had agreed to increasingly rely on “U.S.-free” network components for Telekom’s 5G network.
A spokesman for Deutsche Telekom said the Handelsblatt report was “contrary to the reality” and added that the Bonn-based firm had scaled down its business with Huawei in the past three years.
“Deutsche Telekom has said on several occasions that it is entirely doing away with Chinese providers in security-critical areas such as core mobile network,” the spokesman said.
Handelsblatt had cited a Huawei spokesman as saying that the Chinese firm had never sought to hide its close relationship with Telekom.
Deutsche Telekom is against any blanket bans on foreign vendors of telecoms network equipment as it believes these would reduce its flexibility.
Berlin has been resisting U.S. calls to exclude the Chinese company from its telecoms networks on national security grounds.
Last month, the German government said it would not agree rules on installing components in the future 5G mobile communications network until at least September.
(Reporting by Riham Alkousaa and Nadine Schimroszik; Editing by Edward Taylor and Michelle Martin)