EU will not ban Huawei on 5G

Published: 21 January 2020 - 5:43 a.m.
By: CommsMEA staff writer

The European Union will not unilaterally ban Huawei from its 5G networks, despite colossal pressure and relentless lobbying from the US.

Speaking in Paris yesterday, the EU’s digital commissioner, Thierry Bretton, said that the bloc would draft legislation at the end of January that would be “naturally strict and vigilant but would not single out or exclude any single operator, Bloomberg reported.

Individual member states will still be free to impose their own nationwide bans on the Chinese tech vendor, should they deem it necessary.

The UK is poised to rule on whether Huawei will be allowed to continue its involvement with the country’s 5G networks in the coming days, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson tipped to resist US pressure for a ban. The UK’s mobile network operators have been united in their support for Huawei, with all BT, Vodafone, Three UK and O2 all launching their initial 5G services with Huawei components in their network mix. Last week, BT and Vodafone were reported to be lobbying the UK government to allow them to continue working with the world’s biggest 5G vendor.

Officials in Germany are also rallying around the Chinese company, as the country looks to continue expanding its fledgling 5G networks.

Germany’s Interior Minister, Horst Seehofer, told reporters that he was “against taking a product off the market just because there is a possibility that something might happen.”

He later told reporters from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper that excluding Huawei could delay the buildout of Germany’s next generation networks by five years.

“I don’t see that we can set up a 5G network in Germany in the short term without participation by Huawei,” the Associated Press reported him as saying.

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