Canada’s Telus praises partner Huawei as ‘viable and reliable’

Telus, one of Canada’s largest phone companies, has praised the benefits of its partnership with Huawei, the Chinese company at the center of a spying row.

In a staff memo leaked to the Toronto Globe and Mail, Eros Spadotto, the executive vice-president of technology strategy, defended his company’s decision to continue to use Huawei’s networking products, according to a Bloomberg report

Telus memo

“Clearly, Huawei remains a viable and reliable participant in the Canadian telecommunications space, bolstered by globally leading innovation, comprehensive security measures, and new software upgrades,” the memo read.

Spadotto also hailed the “positive, transparent and innovative-centric partnership we have enjoyed with Huawei.”

In recent weeks, Huawei has faced increased scrutiny from the US over allegations of spying and its connections with the Chinese government.

Huawei conflict

As tensions continue to escalate, the Trump administration is preparing an executive order to ban equipment from Huawei and ZTE.

The US has pressed other so-called Five Eyes allies, like Canada, to also ditch Huawei’s equipment. The Canadian government is currently in the process of deciding whether or not to exclude Huawei from its 5G rollout plans.

Last week, China’s ambassador to Canada, Lu Shaye, warned that banning Huawei equipment from the country may yield repercussions.

In the note, Spadatto also said that Telus is working closely with the federal government to address any security concerns.

Telus is concerned that a ban would undermine the investments the firm has already made in its existing networks. Huawei is the third-biggest supplier to Telus, according to supply chain data collected by Bloomberg.

Earlier this month, analysts at the Royal Bank of Canada expect Huawei to be banned from the 5G network in Canada but not the existing one the country currently uses.

“We would expect any such boycott and subsequent ‘rip and replace’ to apply to 5G equipment only, leaving most 3G and 4G equipment intact,” RBC Capital Markets analysts Drew McReynolds and Caleb Ho said in a note this month.

China-Canada arrests

Canada, at the request of the US, arrested Huawei chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, in Vancouver in December, triggering a rising dispute with China. China then detained two Canadians, including a former diplomat, and sentenced a third to death.

Last Friday, PM, Justin Trudeau, strongly criticized China’s decision to impose the death penalty and accused China of acting arbitrarily. Trudeau also criticized close ties between Huawei and the Chinese government.

“One of the things that is of concern in the situation is the apparent blending of Chinese commercial interests with Chinese political positioning and consequences,” Trudeau said. “This is something that I think should be of concern, not just to Canadians, but to people around the world.”