New rules drafted for Germany allows a level playing field for all telecom equipment vendors.
On Monday, in a significant development, Germany has finalized rules to build its 5G mobile networks which does not exclude China’s Huawei Technologies.
German government officials have confirmed that Germany’s security catalogue foresaw an evaluation of technical and other criteria and has decided that not a single vendor will be barred.
“We are not taking a pre-emptive decision to ban any actor, or any company,” said Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for the German government at a news conference in Berlin.
The development comes despite U.S. pressure on its allies to shut out Huawei from supplying telecom equipment to build next generation 5G networks saying its gear contained ‘back doors’ that would enable China to spy on other countries.
For Germany the situation is tricky since German operators are already Huawei’s customers and barring the Chinese company would add years of delays and billions of dollars in costs in launching 5G networks.
Under China’s national intelligence law, all citizens and companies are required to collaborate in espionage efforts.
The development comes despite the European Union warning last week of increased risks of cyber attacks on 5G networks by state-backed actors. The European Commission’s report had stopped short of singling out China as a threat.
According to a report by Handelsblatt citing the draft rulebook, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica Deutschland will be required to identify and apply enhanced security standards to critical network elements.
More broadly, vendors should be certified as trustworthy, giving customers legal recourse to exclude them and seek damages if proof is found that equipment had been used for spying or sabotage.
Certification of critical equipment would meanwhile have to be obtained from Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security (BSI).