October 16, 2019

Germany will not preemptively ban Huawei from 5G networks

By Robert Scammell

Germany has announced that it will not preemptively exclude Huawei’s 5G technology from being used in its mobile networks.

The Chinese tech giant has faced sanctions from the US, with the Trump administration alleging that the Chinese government could use the firm’s equipment to carry out espionage. Huawei strongly denies these claims.

A German government spokesman said: “Essentially our approach is as follows: We are not taking a pre-emptive decision to ban any actor, or any company.”

German officials added that it would publish a detailed ‘security catalogue’ that would set technical criteria for 5G networks, Reuters reports.

Germany’s decision will provide welcome respite for the embattled tech firm, which also had its Android licence revoked from future smartphones as part of the US-China trade war. However, while the US government has pressured its allies to ban Huawei, the company says it has signed more than 60 5G commercial contracts globally.

In a statement to the BBC, Huawei said: “Politicising cybersecurity will only hinder technology development and social progress while doing nothing to address the security challenges all countries face.

“Huawei will continue to work openly with regulators, customers, and industry organisations to ensure that mobile networks are secure.”

Strong financial results bolster Germany Huawei decision

Dmitry Kurbatov, CTO at Positive Technologies, an enterprise security solutions provider, said:

“Despite the controversy which continues to bombard the headlines, banning a telecoms vendor as major as Huawei in the launch of 5G would result in a massive cost for most countries.

“The reality is that Huawei is already embedded into the 5G ecosystem, mainly because many mobile network operators have already purchased or ordered Huawei technology. In Germany’s case, all major operators are already using Huawei equipment.”

He added that banning Huawei would delay 5G rollouts, echoing the concerns of Vodafone’s chief executive and others in the telecommunication industry.

Huawei will be further bolstered by strong financial performance despite US sanctions.

Its revenue jumped 24% for the first nine months of 2019 and global smartphone shipments jumped 26% in the first three quarters of the year to 185 million units. However, smartphone sales numbers post-sanctions are not yet available.

The UK is expected to make its decision on banning Huawei from 5G infrastructure this autumn.

Read more: Call not to ban Huawei 5G kit welcomed by former senior British intelligence officer