By Giuseppe Fonte and Elvira Pollina
ROME, May 31 (Reuters) – Vodafone’s Italian unit has obtained conditional approval from Rome to use equipment made by Chinese company Huawei on its 5G network, according to two sources close to the matter.
Italy can block or impose harsh conditions on deals involving suppliers from outside the EU by virtue of its “golden powers”, which have been used three times since 2012 to block access by foreign agents in sectors considered of strategic importance. .
The government of Prime Minister Mario Draghi authorized the agreement between Vodafone and Huawei on May 20, one of the two sources told Reuters, asking not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.
As in similar agreements, the Italian government imposed a series of requirements that include restrictions on remote intervention by Huawei to fix technical failures and an extremely high security threshold, the source added.
Vodafone and Huawei declined to comment.
The United States has lobbied Italy and other European allies to avoid using Huawei equipment in their next-generation telecommunications networks and to closely scrutinize rival ZTE, saying the companies could pose a security risk.
Huawei and ZTE strongly deny the allegations.
In the past 12 months, Italy has taken a tougher stance on Huawei, albeit without completely banning it from participating in the 5G network.
Under former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Italy in October prevented telecommunications group Fastweb from signing an agreement with Huawei to supply equipment for its 5G core network, where highly sensitive data is processed.
(Information by Giuseppe Fonte and Elvira Pollina; edited in Spanish by Darío Fernández and Javier Leira)