Germany and other EU countries should please do without Huawei technology as quickly as possible and free their own mobile networks from the influence of China, the US government demanded at the NATO summit in Bucharest, according to a report in the Handelsblatt.
USA: Germany should disengage from Huawei technology
The focus of the meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Bucharest is, in addition to the Ukraine war, especially the dealings with China, in which various countries now see a challenge to transatlantic security.
The United States in particular is insisting that its European allies should please get rid of Chinese technology as quickly as possible. Huawei in particular is once again at the center of attention.
To this day, Huawei provides important components of the mobile network in Germany. In July, we already reported that Huawei technology could soon be threatened with extinction as part of a rip and replace process, but nothing has happened in this area to date.
For example, Julianne Smith, U.S. ambassador to NATO, told Handelsblatt that the United States believes that non-trusted vendors should not be allowed to participate in the digital infrastructure and 5G network.
A reminder to Germany
Smith did not name specific names, but it is obvious who is meant. The use of technology from such providers marked “unacceptable risks to national security”, Smith continued.
The Nato ambassador directs the warning thereby above all to Germany, after other European neighboring countries have long since turned their backs on Huawei technology. In France, for example, the licenses with Huawei were not renewed more than two years ago, whereby mobile technology from China was slowly outsourced.
However, it is proving extremely difficult to restructure the mobile network. This is because all mobile network providers, such as Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefónica Deutschland, currently use technology from Huawei and others. A rebuild would also put a severe damper on 5G expansion.
An alternative to the technology from Huawei, but also from ZTE, is provided by the European providers Ericsson and Nokia. Their technology is also being used in the USA to build the fast 5G network.
However, implementation in Germany is already considered a difficult balancing act at the domestic political level. The digital policy spokesman for the SPD parliamentary group, Jens Zimmermann, is calling on the German government to exploit the leeway offered by the new IT security law while excluding technology providers that cannot be fully trusted.
Zimmerman is hoping for more sensitivity on the part of German mobile operators and is also considering the possibility of “tightening up the law” once again if there is no rethink here. The Green Party is also convinced that Huawei technology must be immediately removed from the “core area of German and European critical IT infrastructure,” Konstantin von Notz (Greens), chairman of the Bundestag’s intelligence committee, told Handelsblatt.
Where do we go from here?
One thing is certain, however: getting rid of Huawei’s technology in the mobile sector will be an expensive exercise and would almost certainly have a direct impact on prices for end users.
Meanwhile, discussions about the China strategy continue within the federal government. According to a first draft, which is also available to the Handelsblatt, one wants to “strive for a uniform and stricter examination of investments from third countries in critical infrastructure and other sensitive areas by all EU member states”. Chinese investments in ports and the rail network within Europe are also in focus.
For Huawei it is the next damper, so the technology group is already struggling for bare survival after the embargo by the United States. At the end of August 2022, Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei revealed in an internal memo that economic development up to 2025 would be crucial above all. In any case, Huawei’s sales figures have been declining drastically since 2021 at the latest.