A number of European countries are analyzing the possibility of restricting Huawei’s ability to take part in 5G contracts over security allegations


The GSMA urged European policymakers to safeguard both network security and competition in the supply of telecom gear for the deployment of 5G networks.

The industry association said that “robust competition amongst network infrastructure suppliers is essential to European operators’ ability to deliver innovative services to European citizens and businesses at competitive and affordable prices.”

By 2025, mobile operators are expected to invest between 300-500 billion euros  ($340-565 billion) in the deployment of 5G networks across Europe, GSMA said.

“To safeguard this investment, retain competitiveness and data affordability, as well as maintain consumer trust, mobile operators have always prioritized network integrity, will never compromise on security and already have a proven track record of deploying secure 4G networks. 5G is, in essence, an evolution of the 4G standard, with enhanced features in terms of latency, speed and security,” GSMA said in a statement.

“As European policy makers consider ways to further secure network infrastructure, we urge them not to lose focus on all relevant policy objectives – security, competition, innovation and consumer impact. This requires a fact-based and risk-based approach, including recognition that Europe’s starting points and approaches to date, have been different than some other parts of the world,” the industry body added. “Specifically, actions that disrupt the equipment supply for the various segments of the network (access, transport and core), will increase costs to European operators, businesses and citizens; delay 5G deployment by years across Europe and potentially also jeopardize the functioning of existing 4G networks upon which 5G is intended to be built.”

GSMA also said that European mobile operators are ready to work with policymakers to set a framework for 5G security assurance, testing and certification, and that will “give confidence in network security while maintaining competition and innovation in the supply of network equipment and data affordability to end-users.”

The industry body, which represents nearly 850 mobile operators globally, released this letter while Chinese vendor Huawei is facing potential bans in a number of Western markets .

A number of countries including the U.S., Canada, Japan the U.K., Germany, Australia and New Zealand have already taken certain steps to block or limit purchases of network equipment from Huawei and ZTE, over security allegations. German telecom operator Deutsche Telekom recently said that the deployment of 5G across Europe would be affected if governments ban Chinese vendor over security concerns.

According to an internal assessment by the German carrier, the removal of Huawei from the list of 5G suppliers would delay the rollout of 5G by at least two years.

In its internal report, 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.

In a previous press conference with international journalists, Huawei’s founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei said that his company does not spy for the Chinese government and that it would not respond to improper government requests for information.

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