Thursday, 17 December 2020 10:46

Germany opens door to Huawei, with strict conditions: report Featured

Germany opens door to Huawei, with strict conditions: report Pixabay

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has snubbed US demands to exclude Chinese telecommunications equipment vendor Huawei Technologies from Germany's 5G networks, with legislation, that sets strict conditions for its participation, being sent to the Bundestag.

The Asia Times, which broke the news of Bonn, Seoul and Tokyo all dissenting from Washington's decision on 30 November, reported on Thursday that the law would make Huawei and other network equipment providers liable for any security snafu.

Additionally, economist David P. Goldman wrote, Germany's security agencies would have carte blanche to examine the networks for any issues.

He said Merkel might have made a different decision if Donald Trump had been re-elected.

The US has campaigned for more than two years to try and push countries it considers allies to avoid using 5G equipment from Huawei in their networks. Thus far, only Australia and Vietnam have said openly that they would follow the US' lead.

Sweden recently became the third country to say so publicly, but a court later suspended sections of a decision that had excluded Huawei from participating in Swedish spectrum bids. The spectrum auction itself was put on hold.

New Zealand and Poland have indicated that they are likely to toe the US line, but have yet to make public pronouncements about what policy they would follow.

The UK said in January that it would allow Huawei to bid for up to a third of equipment in non-core parts of the country's 5G networks, but later changed its mind and said all Huawei gear would have to be removed by 2027.

More recently, a report said this timetable had also been changed and companies would be asked to strip out the Chinese vendor's gear by September 2021.

Goldman said the security restrictions in the proposed law seemed to be very strict, but "they play into Huawei’s strategy of seeking security checks by independent laboratories".

Huawei has opened testing centres in both Bonn and Brussels; the company has had such centres in the UK for more than a decade.

Goldman pointed out that the biggest German mobile network provider, Deutsche Telekom, used Huawei gear in about two-thirds of its 4G network.

Additionally, the Chinese firm provided about 50% of the equipment for Vodafone and Telefonica, the next two big networks.

"The new 5G network needs to communicate with the old 4G system so that the cost of eliminating Huawei gear would be high," he wrote.

Huawei Australia has been contacted for comment.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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