SoftBank Group Corp plans to replace 4G network equipment from China’s Huawei Technologies with hardware from Nokia and Ericsson, Nikkei reported on Thursday, without citing sources.
The move comes at a time of scrutiny of Chinese tech firms by the United States and some prominent allies over ties to the Chinese government, driven by concerns they could be used by Beijing for spying.
SoftBank, Japan’s third-largest telco, will also order equipment for its next generation 5G network from the two European suppliers instead of Huawei, Nikkei reported.
A SoftBank spokesman said that "no decision has been made".
Replacing the 4G equipment, which Nikkei reported will be done over several years, is likely to be time-consuming and expensive.
The report also comes on the heels of Japan issuing a policy document on maintaining cybersecurity during procurement. Although not officially confirmed, the policy document was possibly aimed at preventing government procurement from Huawei and ZTE.
Huawei has already been locked out of the U.S. market, and Australia and New Zealand have blocked it from building 5G networks amid concerns of its possible links with China’s government.