The new head of BCE Inc. said Huawei Technologies Co.’s equipment is “top notch” and he’d like the option of working with the Chinese firm as it rolls out its 5G network across Canada.
“They’ve been a great partner,” Mirko Bibic, who took over as chief executive officer of Montreal-based BCE Monday, said in an interview on BNN Bloomberg TV.
Bibic’s comments come as the Canadian government faces a decision over whether to allow Huawei to play a bigger role in developing the 5G broadband network amid security concerns and as tensions between Canada and China remain stretched over the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou.
Meng was arrested in December of 2018 on a U.S. extradition request by Canadian authorities at Vancouver’s airport. In the following months, China imprisoned two Canadians on spying allegations, put another two on death row, and halted nearly $5 billion (US$3.8 billion) worth of Canadian agricultural imports.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said a decision on whether to allow Huawei access to Canada’s next-generation network won’t be a political one. Meng is set to appear in court on Jan. 20 for the formal start of extradition hearings.
Bibic said he’s awaiting a decision as the government reviews Huawei’s case. “Ultimately what we’d like is some clarity,” he said in an interview Monday from Montreal, adding the company will adjust accordingly regardless of the outcome.
BCE, Canada’s biggest telecommunications firm by market value, rose as much as 0.9 per cent intraday Monday, the most since Dec. 4.
BCE is the parent company of BellMedia, which operates BNN Bloomberg in a licensing agreement with Bloomberg LP.