BERLIN (Reuters) – The German government will continue with telecommunications operators and vendors, before deciding whether to let Chinese companies such as Huawei Technologies participate in building the future 5G mobile networks, a high-ranking source said.
FILE PHOTO: The booth of Huawei is pictured at the sponsors area during the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party congress in Hamburg, Germany, December 7, 2018. REUTERS/Andreas Rinke/File Photo
A decision is unlikely within the next two weeks, the source added, after the ministers discussed the issue last week against the background of the U.S. calls on its European allies to close from Chinese vendors on national security grounds.
What the government and the industry leaders hoped to achieve clarity about the rules for 5G before Germany fires the starting gun on the buildout of next-generation networks by the auction of spectrum in the end of March.
Work still needs to be done to address the cost, the feasibility and the safety measures, said the source, pushing back against reporting in the German press that officials had hammered out a common approach.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that Germany must ensure that Huawei would not hand data to the Chinese state, before they can take part in the building of the fifth-generation networks that link everything from vehicles, factories at a much higher speed.
Huawei, the global networking market leader with a turnover of more than $100 billion, faces international control over its ties with the Chinese government, and the presumption Beijing could use the technology to spy, which the company denies.
The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo drove home that message in Budapest on Monday, warning their allies in central Europe that the implementation of the equipment of Huawei would make it more difficult for Washington “to a partner next to them”.
Germany’s three telecom operators – Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica Deutschland – use Huawei equipment in their networks, and have warned that curbing the choice of their suppliers can be costly.
Deutsche Telekom has, for its part, a proposal for a series of technical and compliance-measures to ensure the safety, including the setting up of an independent laboratory to examine all of the equipment that is used in the critical infrastructure, before it is implemented in the field.
It also called for the network equipment makers to submit the source code that runs their equipment on a trusted third party. Under certain circumstances, an operator would be able to access any security problems to solve.
Also said the legal obligations and liability for the security of critical infrastructure should be broadened, so that suppliers of network, in addition to operators, as is now the case.
Reporting by Andreas Rinke and Nadine Schimroszik; Writing by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Keith Weir