Mobile News

Huawei and ZTE ban will affect mobile networks in Germany, fears German ministry

Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE’s ban on certain components could have a significant impact on Germany’s mobile network if they had to be replaced on a larger scale, according to a letter from the German economy ministry seen by Reuters.

The German government is currently conducting a review of telecom technology providers that it says is not directed at specific manufacturers.

If extensive changes are required as a result of the ban or regulation, “this is likely to have a significant impact on the operation of mobile networks and the fulfillment of coverage requirements,” the letter to the economic committee of the lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, says.

The ministry added that the exact impact on mobile operators and other economic players could not be estimated as it depended on individual decisions as well as transitional periods.

A government scrutiny could result in operators being asked to remove and replace components already built into 5G networks. Under current law, they will not receive compensation.

Critics of Huawei and ZTE say their close ties to Beijing’s security services mean that embedding them in mobile networks could give Chinese spies and even saboteurs access to critical infrastructure.

Huawei, ZTE and the Chinese government reject such claims, saying they are motivated by a protectionist desire to support non-Chinese competitors.

A few days ago, it was reported that Germany plans to ban carriers from using certain components made by Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE on 5G networks, which could be an important step to address security concerns.

The German ban could extend to components already built into networks, requiring carriers to remove and replace them, Zeit Online reports, citing sources.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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