Germany Increases Reliance on Huawei for 5G Despite Security Fears – Poll | Daily News Byte

Germany Increases Reliance on Huawei for 5G Despite Security Fears – Poll

 | Daily News Byte

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By Sarah Marsh

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany has become even more dependent on Huawei for 5G radio access network (RAN) equipment than on its 4G network despite growing concerns about Chinese involvement in critical infrastructure, a new report said.

Many European countries have banned Chinese companies from all or part of their 5G networks for security reasons, amid intense diplomatic pressure from the United States.

But Huawei accounts for 59% of Germany’s 5G RAN – the base stations and associated infrastructure that connects smartphones to the network – compared to 57% in 4G networks, according to research by telecoms consultancy Strand Consult.

The survey, to be published next week but seen by Reuters, provides an overview of the role of China’s Huawei and ZTE in rolling out next-generation mobile networks across Europe, singling out the region’s biggest economy for its continued reliance on a top trading partner.

“There are indications that Germany has not taken seriously the security threat posed by China,” the study said, comparing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, long criticized by opponents as a security risk but which Berlin justified by saying Russia would not use weapons. Energy.

Huawei has repeatedly denied that its equipment poses a security risk and accuses Washington of a protectionist desire to help American firms that cannot compete with its technology and prices.

Huawei did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.

Germany, home to operators such as Deutsche Telekom and O2, passed an IT security law two years ago that sets high hurdles for telecommunications equipment manufacturers for the “critical components” of 5G networks.

Critics note that the requirements are heaviest for the core network, where sensitive data is processed, but say it is so intertwined with the RAN infrastructure that both could pose a security risk.

The German network agency referred Reuters to the regulation which shows differentiated treatment for core and RAN components. The Information Security Office did not respond to a request for comment on whether the large share of Chinese components could pose a security threat.

Jens Zimmerman, an MP for the Social Democrats (SPD), the senior coalition party in the German government, accused telecom operators of sticking to the minimum requirements of the new law, not its spirit.

“If this attitude continues, we will have to tighten the legal framework,” said the SPD spokesman for digital policy.

GERMANY COULD MEET THE DEMANDS

The Strand report shows that while Germany is not alone in increasing its use of Chinese RAN equipment in its 5G network, many small European countries, particularly Nordic and Eastern states like Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia, are not using any.

In some of those countries, author John Strand told Reuters, operators themselves chose non-Chinese suppliers to keep wary corporate clients happy.

The report, however, said Huawei has a larger market share in Berlin than in Beijing, where it faces stiff competition from domestic rival ZTE.

A strategy document from Germany’s economy ministry run by the Greens recommended increased control of components from authoritarian states in critical infrastructure.

“We need a general review of commercial cooperation with companies from autocratic states,” said Greens MP Constantin von Notz, chairman of the parliamentary committee that oversees intelligence services.

A more proactive approach is necessary, he said, to ensure Germany’s sovereignty “in relation to countries like Russia and China.”

(Reporting by Sarah Marsh; Additional reporting by Supanth Mukherjee in Stockholm; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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