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SoftBank to avoid Huawei equipment

SoftBank Corp. will remove equipment made by Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. from its 4G network amid rising security concerns over the use of Chinese telecom products, the Nikkei Asian Review reported.

The mobile operator, owned by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp., will replace all Huawei equipment over the next few years with hardware from Ericsson and Nokia Corp. It is also reportedly expected to procure 5G network equipment from the two European telecom giants.

Besides SoftBank, mobile phone carriers NTT Docomo Inc. and KDDI Corp. as well as e-commerce company Rakuten Inc. have decided not to use Chinese 5G network equipment due to similar security concerns.

SoftBank's move follows Japan's decision to prohibit government purchases of telecom products from Huawei and ZTE Corp., supposedly to prevent data leaks and cyberattacks. The U.S. government made a similar move in August and has urged foreign ally government counterparts and telecom executives to follow suit. Australia and New Zealand have also banned Huawei from providing equipment for their planned 5G networks.

In Europe, the U.K.'s British Telecom intends to remove Huawei equipment from the core of its 3G and 4G networks, and banned the Chinese company from bidding on equipment supply contracts in its core 5G network.