European Commissioner for digital economy and society Mariya Gabriel said during a keynote at MWC that Europe has to have a common approach to this issue


BARCELONA–European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel said the European Commission will soon bring a solution for 5G security concerns in the European mobile industry.

Speaking in a keynote presentation during Mobile World Congress 2019 in Barcelona, the official acknowledged concerns raised by players in the mobile industry on potential legislation related to national security and 5G network deployments.

“I’m well aware of the unrest among all of you key actors in the telecommunications sector caused by the ongoing discussions on the cybersecurity of 5G,” Gabriel said. “Let me reassure you, the Commission takes your view very seriously, because you need to run these systems every day.

“Nobody is helped by premature decisions based on partial analysis of the facts,” she added. “However, it is also clear that Europe has to have a common approach to this challenge and we need to bring it to the table soon, otherwise there is a risk fragmentation raises because of divergent decisions taken by neighboring states trying to protect access.

“We are working on this important matter with priority and the Commission will take steps soon,” the official added.

In related news, U.K.-based telecom group Vodafone’s CEO, Nick Read, said banning Chinese vendor Huawei from providing 5G gear in European markets would negatively affect competition in the telecom supply chain.

During a press conference at the MWC, Read also said that a decision of this kind would be very expensive for operators and consumers and that it would delay Europe’s 5G rollout by probably two years.

“It structurally disadvantages Europe,” he said. “Of course, the U.S. [doesn’t] have that problem because they don’t put Huawei equipment in,” Read added.

Last month, German carrier Deutsche Telekom said that the deployment of 5G across Europe would be affected if governments ban Huawei over security concerns, Bloomberg reported, citing an internal assessment by German carrier Deutsche Telekom. According to the briefing, the removal of Huawei from the list of 5G suppliers would delay the rollout of 5G by at least two years.

In its internal assessment, the German telco highlighted that 5G networks must be built on top of existing 4G infrastructure, which already relies extensively on Huawei equipment. If European governments ban Huawei and force operators to remove Huawei equipment, the telecom industry would see a huge financial impact, according to the report.

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