The German Interior Ministry plans to ban the use of critical components from Huawei Technologies and ZTE in the country’s 5G mobile networks, it said. Bloomberg with reference to an informed source. Various dates for introducing the ban are being discussed, starting in 2026.
The ministry is examining the extent to which Germany’s critical mobile network infrastructure relies on Chinese technology as the US pressures its allies to reduce their reliance on equipment from Chinese manufacturers amid worsening relations with Beijing. The review is still ongoing, and negotiations are also being held with other ministries involved in the decision, a spokesman for the Federal Ministry of the Interior said on Wednesday.
Huawei explained in response to this information that the review was discriminatory and not based on technical criteria. According to Huawei, the politicization of this issue in Germany will lead to a slowdown in the country’s digital transformation and higher consumer spending.
The speed and availability of mobile internet as well as the avoidance of dependency are crucial factors when considering a ban, a spokesman for the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, which is also involved in the negotiations, told Bloomberg by email.
The United States, Britain and the European Union are increasingly paying attention to security threats from Chinese companies, Bloomberg noted. US Republican Party officials are urging the Biden administration to expand sanctions against Huawei following the release of the Huawei Mate 60 smartphone, which the US suspects illegally used American technology.
Germany has been less persistent than some of its allies in banning Chinese equipment. Here they allowed the use of Huawei components in 5G networks, which were set up by Deutsche Telekom, among others. In return, the United Kingdom in 2020 banned the use of Huawei components in next-generation 5G networks and restricted the use of the Chinese company’s products in fixed networks, citing supply chain problems after the United States imposed sanctions on Huawei. However, Berlin has now taken a tougher stance towards China and is trying to reduce its overall dependence on individual countries.
Regarding the timing of the introduction of a ban in Germany, Deutsche Telekom AG, Germany’s largest telecommunications provider, considers implementation in 2026 to be unrealistic. “In the UK, for example, even replacing (Chinese equipment with components from other companies) over a period of seven years is an overly ambitious solution.” – said company spokesman Stephan Broszio.