A Huawei ban on network expansion is intended to protect the German mobile communications infrastructure from Chinese espionage.
The fight against Chinese espionage is on next round. In order to protect the German infrastructure and ensure the country’s IT security, the federal government is considering a ban on Huawei when expanding German mobile networks.
Germany is not the first country to ban Huawei
The USA has been warning of espionage activities through network components from China for years. Great Britain dumped Huawei two years ago. And Canada also recently positioned itself against the use of 5G technology from Huawei and ZTE. Now the German federal government is also considering excluding Chinese network technology from the German infrastructure.
According to a report in the Handelsblatt, the Ministry of the Interior could in future instruct German network operators to remove critical components of Chinese origin and to stop using them. This seems particularly explosive when you consider that in the 4G network, depending on the operator, up to 65% of all components were supplied by Huawei. And not without reason: Huawei is one of the leading manufacturers of network components.
Since the components from different manufacturers are often not compatible with one another, a Huawei ban would mean that several components would have to be replaced at once in many places will. It should be obvious that this is associated with immense costs and further delays the expansion of 5G networks.
Ericsson and Nokia as winners of the debate
While network operators would prefer to continue to source around % of their components from Huawei, the government is pushing for the use of Scandinavian components with the Huawei ban Components from Ericsson or Nokia.
Vodafone and Telefónica have already given assurances that only components from Ericsson will be used in their 5G core networks. But that’s not enough for the Ministry of the Interior, since there is no legal distinction between core and access network. And the existing 4G infrastructure also continues to harbor security risks. “All or nothing” thus seems to be the preferred strategy.
Ukraine conflict as a trigger
Reason for the The debate about a Huawei ban seems to be the political situation surrounding gas supplies from Russia. Germany’s dependence on Russian gas and the resulting energy crisis has prompted the federal government to rethink. Their goal is now to generally reduce dependencies on dictatorial regimes.
Konstantin von Notz (Die Grünen), chairman of the secret service committee of the Bundestag, is of the opinion that “Neither Europe nor Germany can avoid becoming more independent, self-sufficient and sovereign – also in the area of IT infrastructure.”