Germany is the latest country looking to bar its telecom operators from using network equipment from Chinese vendor Huawei due to national security concerns.
According to a Reuters report, senior German officials are attempting to convince the government to prevent German telecom operators from using equipment from the Chinese vendor to construct their 5G networks. Those networks are expected to be operational beginning next year.
The Reuters report noted that the German officials are most concerned about China’s National Intelligence Law, which was approved in 2017. That law states that Chinese “organizations and citizens shall, in accordance with the law, support, cooperate with, and collaborate in national intelligence work.”
Huawei officials countered the move, noting to Reuters that, “Cybersecurity has always been our top priority and we have a proven track record of providing secure products and solutions for our customers in Germany and around the world.”
Huawei is already supplying some German operators with network equipment.
Telefónica selected the vendor to build a large-scale virtual evolved packet core (vEPC) network in 13 countries, including Germany.
Following in the Footsteps
The move follows similar efforts in Australia and the United States.
The Australian government in August formerly banned Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE from providing 5G equipment to the country’s telecommunications providers. The Australian government issued a statement saying it had undertaken an extensive review of the national security risks to 5G networks and that the required network architecture would make it more difficult to monitor for national security issues.
“Where previous mobile networks featured clear functional divisions between the core and the edge, 5G is designed so that sensitive functions currently performed in the physically and logically separated core will gradually move closer to the edge of the network,” stated the government. “This shift introduces new challenges for carriers trying to maintain their customers’ security.”
The U.S. government is also working through a process to officially ban Chinese vendors from domestic networks. That issue has also been presented as part of T-Mobile US’ pending acquisition of Sprint. T-Mobile US is majority owned by German telecom giant Deutsche Telekom.
Huawei has received some support from rural U.S. carriers that have been using the vendor in parts of their networks since Huawei entered the market in 2001.
“We pose no security threat in any country,” Huawei noted in a statement on the U.S. efforts. “No government agency has ever tried to intervene in our operations or decisions. U.S. authorities should not base major legislative decisions on speculation and rumor.”