LILLEY: Looming Huawei decision really doesn’t matter anymore

With Parliament resuming Monday, one of the many anticipated decisions will be whether Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government allows Huawei into Canada’s 5G network. But the bigger question, after years of delay, might be whether the decision even matters anymore. The diplomatic damage caused by Trudeau’s foot dragging is already done. At the same time, Huawei has spent the last several years selling equipment to major phone carriers that have in turn put that gear into Canada’s telecom system. Since the federal government announced a review of Huawei’s role in Canada’s 5G system back in 2018, the company has sold hundreds of millions of dollars of equipment per year. Those sales may be drying up as companies react to public sentiment towards Huawei but the gear is already installed in cell towers across the country. Telus, in particular, has a significant amount of Huawei gear installed, as does Bell, though to a lesser degree. And regional player Sasktel is also heavily reliant on Huawei gear. Even with announcements such as those by Bell and Telus that they will be using other equipment suppliers in the future, it will take years to fully swap out the existing gear.

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