October 9, 2020, 07.06 PM

STOCKHOLM/PARIS, KOMPAS.com - Belgium has appointed Nokia to help build the EU member’s 5G networks amid US pressure to exclude Chinese firms like Huawei.

The company Orange and Proximus will now assign Nokia to supply key telecoms equipment as it expands 5G networks across Belgium.

The moves are among the first by commercial operators in Europe to drop Huawei from next-generation networks and come after months of diplomatic pressure from Washington, which alleges Huawei equipment could be used by Beijing for spying.

Read also: Hong Kong’s Nathan Law Advises the West to Abandon Chinese Technology Ties

The Belgian capital Brussels is home to the European Union's executive body and parliament, making it a matter of particular concern for US intelligence agencies.

"Belgium has been 100 percent reliant on Chinese vendors for its radio networks — and people working at NATO and the EU were making mobile phone calls on these networks," said John Strand, an independent Danish telecoms consultant.

"The operators are sending a signal that it's important to have access to safe networks."

Huawei, the world's biggest telecoms equipment supplier, strongly denies the US allegations and has been highly critical of calls to ban it from 5G contracts.

Read also: US Republicans, TikTok, and Concerns about Chinese Interference

However, the company said on Friday it accepted the decisions by Orange Belgium and Proximus, which confirm a Reuters report.

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