Attendees visit the Huawei Technologies Co Ltd. stand on the opening day of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain. (Photographer: Pau Barrena/Bloomberg)

Canadian Telecoms Face $1 Billion Cost to Remove Huawei Gear, Globe & Mail Says

(Bloomberg) -- Canada’s Telus Corp. and BCE Inc. may face at least $1 billion in costs if the country bans telecommunications equipment made by China’s Huawei Technologies Co. from their next generation 5G mobile networks, The Globe and Mail reported Saturday, citing unidentified people familiar with the industry.

BCE, Telus and, to a lesser extent, Rogers Communications Inc., all use Huawei equipment in their networks.

The Globe and Mail cites an unidentified telecom executive who places the cost of a Huawei ban at $500 million to $1 billion for Telus, while another unidentified person estimated it would cost BCE’s Bell Canada hundreds of millions of dollars. A third senior telecom insider, who has direct knowledge of the issue, said the total estimated cost for BCE and Telus would exceed $1 billion, it reported.

In order to remove Huawei equipment from cellular infrastructure, Bell and Telus would have to rip out and replace tens of thousands of antennas, The Globe and Mail said.

BCE and Telus declined to tell The Globe and Mail whether U.S. national security officials have asked them to avoid Huawei equipment. Rogers said it had not been contacted.

Canada has played a big role in Huawei’s research and commercialization efforts for high-speed 5G networks.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.