A deal with Telecom Italia covering a national FTTH network shows that Huawei is slowly winning the PR war in Europe.
The Chinese vendor’s international progress has been dogged by rumors of links with the country’s military and significant government funding, but Italy’s incumbent telco appears to have shrugged off such speculation by agreeing a five year deal with Huawei covering fixed and mobile broadband infrastructure.
Telecom Italia was apparently convinced of Huawei’s credentials after partnering with the vendor on mobile and network R&D centers earlier this year. Its latest deal also covers joint development of mobile devices, applications, software and enterprise products for Italy and Latin America.
The deal was one of several signed by Chinese and Italian firms in a visit by a trade delegation headed up by China’s vice president Xi Jinping, and is an important step in Huawei’s European expansion plans. The vendor is currently on a recruitment drive to sign up 500 additional managers, engineering and sales staff in the UK, which it named as its European hub in April.
International markets are increasingly important to Huawei, with the firm noting that a 30% hike in profit during 2010 was due to “notable expansion in overseas markets.” The firm also publicly named its board for the first time as it seeks to lay the rumors of military links to rest.
Concerns over the security of Huawei’s kit saw it miss out on a lucrative contract from Sprint Nextel in the US last year. In March, officials in London denied security worries were behind a decision to ditch Huawei’s offer to install wireless infrastructure in the city’s underground train network – claiming instead the work was too difficult given the time and space available to work in.