Germany in deal to cut Huawei’s role in 5G wireless network


Huawei

BERLIN: The German government and mobile phone carriers have agreed in principle on steps to phase components by Chinese technology companies out of the nation’s 5G wireless network over the next five years, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.

Newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung as well as broadcasters NDR and WDR earlier jointly reported the news, saying the agreement gives network operators Deutsche Telekom DTEGn.DE, Vodafone VOD.L and Telefonica Deutschland O2Dn.H, TEF.MC more time to replace critical parts.

Under the preliminary agreement driven by security considerations, operators will initially rid the country’s core network of 5G data centres of technology made by companies such as Huawei HWT.UL and ZTE 000063.SZ in 2026, said the sources, adding that a final pact has yet to be signed.

In a second phase, the role of Chinese makers’ parts for antennas, transmission lines and towers should be all but eliminated by 2029, they added.

Also read: Huawei expected to lead foldable smartphone market soon

Asked for comment, Germany’s interior ministry told Reuters that the government’s talks with mobile carriers were ongoing.

“The government is acting on the basis of the national security strategy and China strategy to reduce possible security risks and dependencies,” a spokesperson said.

The Chinese embassy in Germany did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Germany is considered a laggard in implementing the European Union’s security measures for 5G networks.

Telecoms operators in the country have previously resisted Berlin’s efforts to drive the expensive phase-out of Huawei, while Huawei has rejected what it called the “politicisation” of cyber security in the country.

Reflecting the costs of a transition, the U.S. communications regulator said in May that nearly 40% of U.S. telecom companies need additional government funding to remove equipment made by Chinese telecoms firms from American wireless networks to address security risks.

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