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Vodafone says implementing Huawei restrictions could take 5 years

Removing the Chinese company's equipment from its European core networks will take a while, according to Vodafone's CEO.

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Vodafone R&D Center

Vodafone's CEO said removing Huawei equipment from core European networks will cost about 200 million euros.

Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

In the wake of the UK and Europe approving Huawei to take part in 5G next generation wireless rollouts with some restrictions, Vodafone has given us an idea how long it'll take to remove the controversial Chinese company's equipment from its core networks.

"This will take around five years to implement at a cost of approximately 200 million euros (around $220 million)," CEO Nick Read told reporters on Wednesday, as previously reported by Reuters. Vodafone confirmed Read's comments in an email to CNET.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson approved Huawei for 5G last week, with the caveat that it should be excluded from building core parts of the country's 5G networks. The European Commission also announced a "toolbox" green lighting the use of higher-risk vendors, with similar restrictions.

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The approval came despite the US urging its allies to ban Huawei --  the company was added to the US Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security Entity List in May 2019, following an executive order from President Donald Trump effectively banning Huawei from US communications networks. It required US companies to get a license to do business with Huawei, which faces national security concerns due to its cozy relationship with the Chinese government. 

Huawei has denied any wrongdoing and continues to maintain its innocence. It was also banned for 5G in Australia in August 2018.

The Chinese company didn't respond to a request for comment.

First published at 4:47 a.m. PT.
Updated at 9:51 a.m. PT: Adds Vodafone confirmation.