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Vodafone's Chief Executive Nick Read said on Friday that the Huawei debate was playing out at a "too simplistic level", adding that it was an important player in an equipment market dominated by three companies.

The decision by Vodafone places more pressure on Huawei, which has seen its hardware blocked by several phone networks around the world in recent months following growing concern over the business' closeness to the Chinese government.

This is the secretive Oxfordshire base where some 35 cyber security experts are testing equipment supplied by controversial Chinese telecoms giant Huawei - and will within months publish a potentially explosive report that could trigger a global trade war. Huawei is the number one telecom infrastructure supplier worldwide ahead of Nokia, Ericsson and ZTE.

Chinese tech giant Huawei announced plans Wednesday for a next-generation smartphone that will use its own technology instead of USA components, maneuvering to gain a competitive edge and sidestep complaints it is a security risk.

Huawei uses its own chipsets in its high-end phones and servers but said it does not intend to become a standalone chip vendor to rival the likes of Qualcomm and Intel Corp.

Several Asian and Pacific countries have followed Washington's call for a Huawei ban, but the picture in Europe is more nuanced, not least because Huawei's 5G capabilities are so attractive.

The suspect, who denies any wrongdoing, has since been sacked by the company.

Huawei's Richard Yu
Huawei’s Richard Yu

Read said its equipment was used in Vodafone's core - the intelligent part of its networks - in part of Spain and some other smaller markets.

Huawei's smaller Chinese rival, ZTE Corp., was almost driven into bankruptcy a year ago after the Washington cut off access to USA technology over its exports to Iran and North Korea.

Yu said that despite "political noise" in some countries, Huawei sales outside the United States haven't suffered due to security concerns.

Yesterday, a spokesman for Siro said it had raised the issue of security with Huawei but that the partnership agreement remains in place.

"We are taking this moment to pause Huawei whilst we engage with security agencies, governments and Huawei", Read said.

The company's Chief Financial Officer Margherita Della Valle said the performance improvements would start to show in the top line after the current quarter.