Mariya Gabriel, the EU Commissioner for the Digital Economy and the Society, the addresses of the Facebook Gathering conference in Brussels, Belgium, 23 January, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman
BARCELONA (reuters) – The European Commission will decide soon about entry criteria for telecom network vendors, the Digital Internal Market Commissioner Mariya Gabriel said, adding she understood the concern that the blocking of Chinese companies lead to a delay of the rollout of 5G services.
“When 5G networks are mission-critical, networks need to be safe,” Gabriel said in a keynote at the Mobile World Congress, the telecommunications industry is the most important annual meeting.
The US government has been lobbying allies in the bar Chinese vendors, led by Huawei on national security grounds, saying Huawei is close to the Chinese government-posed a national security risk and the equipment was open to cyber espionage. The company denies the allegations.
Sources told Reuters that the EU executive is considering proposals that could lead to a de facto ban on Huawei.
The GSMA lobby group, which represents operators and is hosting the Mobile World Congress, has proposed a Europe-wide testing regime to strengthen the security of the network. Leading members oppose a ban, which they say lead to a delay of up to 5G per year.
“Let me assure you that the Commission takes your concerns seriously,” Gabriel told telecom managers. “No one is helped by premature decisions based on a partial analysis of the facts.”
They added, however, that the 28-member states of the EU should take a decision soon to avoid the risk of individual countries, which could lead to a fragmentation of the block in the common market.
“We all know that the fragmentation of the damage of the digital internal market,” says Gabriel, adding that the Commission would “take steps quickly” on the issue.
Reporting by Douglas Busvine; editing by Jason Neely