Amidst the pressure from the United States and NATO chief, Germany launches Tuesday an auction for the construction of its state-of-the-art 5G mobile networks.
The announcement of Germany to open bidding to build the ultra-fast mobile network comes after the severe pressure from the Trump administration to ban the entry of global tech giant, Huawei, over alleged security risks presented by the Chinese government-linked company.
The United States has warned Germany, among other European allies, that the authoritarian government of China can use Huawei’s technology as a Trojan horse to penetrate western communication and use them as a tool for espionage and economic sabotage.
More recently, Washington has threatened Germany to deny the country of access to US intelligence if the state insists on using gears and technology from Huawei citing that it could not be trusted.
In a letter dated March 8th, the US Ambassador to Germany, Grenell, said that allowing Huawei to operate and provide services for the country’s 5G project would mean that the United States would not be able to share sensitive information including security intelligence to Germany due to the risks that the company poses.
“Because 5G networks are largely software-defined, updates pushed to the network by the manufacturer can radically change how they operate,” said Garrett Marquis, NSC spokesman. “The 5G networks our allies buy won’t be the networks that they eventually operate, as the software could be changed on a moment-to-moment basis by the manufacturer.”
Germany, as one of Washington’s allies, took the note of warning from the US government, however, believes that there is nothing to indicate that the Chinese government can use Huawei in espionage and economic sabotage. Hence, the Chinese tech company is credible to bid for the country’s 5G project.
Chairman of the German Federal Network Agency (BNA), Jochen Homann, said on Monday that wherever the supplier of their 5G systems come from, Germany will still have a system to ensure that they meet certification requirements and other security checks, in an attempt to downplay Washington’s warnings.
While Germany maintains being Europe’s biggest economy, its wireless network ranks only in the 46th place in the world for download speeds. This implication encouraged the country to fill in the digital gap by making a shift to the ultra-fast 5G system.
5G (or fifth generation network) is the latest and fastest speed generation of cellular mobile communications and the German government needed it to pick up their ranking in the worlds internet race – requiring whoever wins the auction to supply and provide reliable 5G network to at least 98 percent of German households and along motorways and rail lines.
The BNA started the auction in Mainz at 9:00 GMT on Tuesday and the process will allocate 41 different frequency blocks. Four operators are in the running, among them Germany’s three leading mobile network providers — Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica Germany (O2) — plus United Internet (1&1), a German company specializing in internet services.
While Huawei is not one of the networks that have submitted their bids to the auction, it will still provide several types of equipment to the four German companies like routers and antennas.
The United States government has accused Huawei of being complicit for the Chinese Communist government that poses a risk in cybersecurity through its 5G technology. The Trump Administration has since banned the company and its products from entering the United States due to the alleged security risks or the possibilities of Huawei used by China to infiltrate government systems, as well as, to interfere with secure communication lines as a form of espionage and sabotage.
Huawei has strenuously denied these allegations and has even launched a global reputation campaign where the usually-private CEO has been on a series of talks and interviews lately, and the company has opened its gates to journalists. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang insisted on Friday that China would ‘never’ ask its firms to spy on other nations.
Amid the intensifying pressure of the United States to its European allies to boycott Huawei, global technology software and hardware development leader, the Chinese foreign minister has lashed out on Monday at the “abnormal, immoral” attacks on Huawei that the telecom company poses a security risk to the West.
Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, demands from the countries in the EU as he met with their foreign ministers and officials for talks in Brussels, to give “fair and just competition environment” for Chinese firms. /apr