Smaller telcos could feel the pinch after Ottawa prohibits use of Huawei's 4G gear

·1 min read

Experts say smaller, independent telecommunications companies will be hurt the most by a federal government decision to ban China’s Huawei Technologies and ZTE from involvement in Canada’s 5G wireless network in a move that will also eventually prohibit their products fromexisting 4G services equipment.

Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne says the government will not be reimbursing the companies which need to remove this equipment from their networks by Dec. 31, 2027.

Telecom experts say smaller companies like Ice Wireless, which serves northern Canada and partnered with Huawei in 2019, could be negatively affected.

They say Canada's biggest telecom companies including Telus Corp. and Bell Canada parent BCE Inc. will likely be able to absorb the costs associated with having to pull out 4G Huawei gear.

Telus and BCE each said in 2020 that they would be moving away from Huawei and working with Sweden’s Ericsson as a supplier for their 5G networks.

Experts say Rogers Communications Inc., whose partnership with Ericsson began in 2018, is an even better position.

Even though rural internet provider Xplornet Communications Inc. announced in 2020 that it would no longer be relying on Huawei for its equipment, it could face financial hurdles as it transitions from 4G to 5G because it doesn't have the same money as Canada's major players, they add.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 20, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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