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Germany 5G network rules avoid Huawei ban

October 16, 2019

German regulators have released a set of guidelines on network security for companies wanting to help build next-generation 5G infrastructure. The conditions stop short of excluding controversial Chinese telecom Huawei.

Shadows on a Huawei logo
Image: Reuters/H. Hanschke

Chinese tech giant Huawei will not specifically be excluded from Germany's 5G network, according to a draft of regulationsreleased Tuesday on the safe construction and operation of the country's telecommunication networks.

The draft security guidelines from the Federal Network Agency include that network contractors and suppliers must provide prove they are trustworthy, and demonstrate, for example, that they will not transmit confidential information abroad.

The US and the EU have warned that Huawei technology could be used to open the door for China to spy on trade secrets and infrastructure. Huawei has always denied these accusations.

Read moreOpinion: Huawei's 5G plan for Germany is a bad deal

Can Germany trust Huawei?

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As Huawei currently holds the largest number of 5G technology patents worldwide, a clause not specifically excluding its technology gives the company a chance to take the lead in developing new infrastructure.

Nils Schmid, foreign affairs spokesperson for Germany's Social Democrats (SPD) said in an interview with the Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung newspaper, "It is a very big mistake that to allow a company under the influence of a state to be so easily involved in such a sensitive sector."

Germany's 5G future 

Germany's minister for energy and economy Peter Altmaier said Tuesday that 5G technology is the "critical infrastructure for the technology of the future" and the hardware and software Germany uses must have the "highest security standards."

Read moreHuawei: Merkel to discuss cybersecurity with global partners

In July, Deutsche Telekom announced it had started Germany's first 5G network, a test phase with limited coverage in Bonn and Berlin.

Telekom said the construction of 5G network infrastructure would continue in Berlin and Bonn, followed by Hamburg, Munich, Darmstadt and Leipzig. By the end of 2020, the company said 5G networks should be operational in Germany's 20 largest cities.

Ultra-fast 5G data networks can transfer data at 1,000 times faster than current 4G networks. They are designed to be used for self-driving cars, connected factories and smart cities.

2019: What's on Germans' minds?

wmr/se (Reuters, dpa, AP)

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