Germany edges nearer to a Huawei 5G ban – report – DatacenterDynamics

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Germany is reportedly closing in on a decision to remove Chinese critical components from the nation’s 5G core network by 2026.

As reported by Bloomberg, the country could follow several other European markets in taking a tougher stance on Huawei and ZTE, despite previously resisting a blanket ban.

Bloomberg reports that three of the four relevant ministries back the measure, according to people familiar with the discussions. The article did note that the digital ministry hasn’t signed off on it due to industry opposition, as per the sources.

The reason for the potential ban stems from fears over national security.

Unlike some of its allies in Europe, Germany has been more reluctant to impose sanctions on Huawei.

Germany stated in December 2022 that it wasn’t looking to impose a ban on Huawei.

The country has previously approved equipment from Chinese telecoms vendors on a ‘case-by-case’ basis approach, and earlier this year it gave ZTE’s latest 5G kit its seal of approval for use.

However, in September it emerged that Germany’s Interior Ministry wants to ban critical components from Huawei and ZTE Corporation from its 5G mobile network.

The country has been reviewing its critical components for a year, as the European Union’s European Commission (EC) has ramped up its effort this year to impose a ban on the vendor.

The EC has been considering a mandatory ban on member states using equipment from vendors that might pose a security risk in their 5G networks.

Such a ban would provide a big headache for German operators, with a Strand Consult report revealing that Huawei accounts for 59 percent of the 5G Radio Access Networks (RAN) in the country.

Bloomberg adds that plans to strip out Chinese components will be carried out over two phases.

German telecommunications providers would be required to remove all Huawei and ZTE critical components from their core networks by January 1, 2026. Following this, telcos would then need to reduce “structural dependency on Chinese components in their access and transport networks by 2029.”

Deutsche Telekom has previously said that such a timeline (2026) is unrealistic.

Huawei has previously hit back at reports that Germany will ban its equipment from the country’s 5G networks.

“Such an approach will have a negative impact on the digital transformation in Germany, inhibit innovation, and significantly increase construction and operating costs for network operators,” the vendor said in September.

Alleged government ties

Huawei has been seen as a threat to national security in several Western nations due to its alleged close ties with the Chinese government.

In 2020, the European Commission (EC) urged EU states to restrict “high-risk vendors” such as Huawei as they rolled out their national 5G networks, but the EU’s internal market commissioner Thierry Breton told telecoms ministers in June that only a third of EU countries have implemented Huawei bans in critical areas.

The UK, Denmark, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have banned Huawei from playing a part in their 5G network infrastructure. Though no longer part of the EU, the UK initially granted the vendor a limited role in its 5G build before banning the company six months later in July 2020.

Back in 2020, the EC was resisting pressure for a full ban from the US, where President Donald Trump was ramping up efforts to ban Huawei from a key role in 5G networks.

President Biden then banned Huawei in early 2023 and added ZTE to the restrictions list.

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