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Deutsche Telekom to stick to multi-vendor strategy

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Deutsche Telekom on Wednesday declined to comment on a magazine report that it would phase out some equipment from Chinese vendor Huawei Technologies [HWT.UL] over time, saying only that it relies on multiple network providers.

Business weekly Wirtschaftswoche reported earlier, citing company sources, that Deutsche Telekom would swap Huawei components out of its core network as part of the routine replacement of older equipment.

"Fundamentally, we are pursuing a multi-vendor strategy and source network components from several vendors. Security comes first," a Deutsche Telekom spokesman said by email. He declined to comment directly on the magazine article.

Debate is bubbling up again in Germany over whether to join the United States in banning Huawei. Washington argues that its equipment contains "back doors" open to cyber spies and that it is beholden by law to the Chinese state. Huawei denies this.

Chancellor Angela Merkel had backed ground rules requiring all vendors to meet certain technical and governance criteria to be allowed to operate in Germany.

But she is facing a growing revolt from lawmakers in her coalition government who want to shut out Huawei.

Calls for a Huawei ban are likely to feature at a congress of Merkel's ruling Christian Democrats this week, while some lawmakers in the Social Democratic Party - the junior coalition party - are proposing a draft resolution to ban Huawei.

(Reporting by Matthias Inverardi and Andreas Rinke; Writing by Douglas Busvine and Jane Merriman)

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