China's role in 5G 'much bigger' than Huawei, British spy chief says

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However, chief executives in the telecoms sector said at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona on Monday that refusing to include Huawei in 5G rollouts could be a mistake.

Speaking at the event, Vodafone CEO Nick Read warned that banning the Chinese firm could be “hugely disruptive” and damage competition in Europe’s supply chains.

Marc Allera, CEO of British telecoms firm EE, later told CNBC that excluding Huawei from 5G networks could hamper innovation.

“If we were to look at replacing parts of our vendor ecosystem, that would mean spending time on replacing like-for-like kit rather than innovating,” he said.

Meanwhile, Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri told CNBC’s Karen Tso that regulatory hurdles would cause Europe to lag behind the U.S. and China in rolling out 5G technology.

Superfast 5G mobile internet is expected to revolutionize the digital economy by enabling new technologies such as self-driving cars and the internet of things.

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