Sunday, 01 November 2020

New German security law may tighten the screws on Huawei

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Wednesday 30 September 20

Reports suggest that the German government is has reached its long-awaited decision regarding high-risk 5G vendors

Reports suggest that the German government has reached a decision on Huawei and so-called high risk vendors when it comes to 5G: the vendors will not be banned outright, but scrutiny will be increased to include the RAN alongside the core.   While not making it completely unfeasible to work with Huawei, a new, strict IT security law will make the prospect far less appealing for operators…

Reports suggest that the German government has reached a decision on Huawei and so-called high risk vendors when it comes to 5G: the vendors will not be banned outright, but scrutiny will be increased to include the RAN alongside the core.

 

While not making it completely unfeasible to work with Huawei, a new, strict IT security law will make the prospect far less appealing for operators, with one senior security official reportedly suggesting that “the outcome is the same” as a complete ban. India has recently taken a similar approach to the vendor, trying to avoid the geopolitical wrath of China while still effectively blocking out its technology.

 

Germany’s decision on Huawei has been much anticipated since the UK first introduced measures to limit the Chinese vendor’s involvement in its 5G networks back in January – it has since increased these measures, aiming to phase out Huawei entirely by 2027. Under intense pressure from the US, Angela Merkel’s coalition has been walking a tightrope when it came to the topic of network security, with opinions polarised on the government’s course of action. 

 

The move will be a problematic one for the nation’s telcos, with all three of the major operators – Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica Deutschland, and Vodafone – all using Huawei equipment in their networks. While Deutsche Telekom said back in August that “regardless of politics, we should never allow dependence on one provider’, they are certain to be particularly put out by the government’s decision, having recently expanded its Huawei-powered network to half of the German population and expected to further the rollout by the time the law comes into effect.

 

In a document leaked earlier this year, Deutsche Telekom likened a full Huawei ban to “Armageddon” and said the company’s tech would cost around €3 billion to rip and replace. Furthermore, the operator is rumoured to be mulling an entrance into the Chinese mobile market, though how successful this move will be in light of the government’s new policy remains to be seen.

 

The decision will be officially made legislation and reviewed in November.

 

How would this new security law affect the German telco sphere? Find out from the experts at this year's Connected Germany

Also in the news: 
BT chooses Nokia to fill 5G void left by Huawei
NTT set to buy-out DoCoMo for $40bn as price war looms
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