Huawei Finds Unlikely Ally in Germany Amid Talk of Excluding 5G Network Suppliers

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Germany opposes excluding any manufacturers and technologies from its planned construction of 5G mobile networks, a spokesman for the interior ministry said, sounding a note of support for Chinese suppliers led by Huawei Technologies.

US allies such as Australia, New Zealand and Japan have restricted Huawei’s access to their markets and the company’s chief financial officer has been arrested in Canada facing possible extradition to the United States.

“We don’t foresee the legal exclusion of specific suppliers or specific products,” the spokesman told a regular government news conference on Friday, restating Berlin’s existing position.

“We are of the view that the security and privacy of the network infrastructure that is deployed should be ensured.”

Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s CFO and daughter of its founder, was arrested on December 1 in connection with a US investigation into an alleged scheme to use the global banking system to evade US sanctions against Iran.

Earlier, US officials had lobbied allies regarding the need to shut Chinese suppliers out of their networks citing the risk that Beijing’s intelligence services could obtain covert access through so-called ‘backdoors’.

Germany has debated the issue, but the country’s telecoms industry has defended its longstanding relationship with Huawei. Market leader Deutsche Telekom runs a 5G project in Berlin with the Shenzhen-based market leader.

Germany’s network regulator has set the ball rolling to auction 5G mobile licences, with a deadline for submissions set for Jan. 25. The auctions should take place in early 2019.

© Thomson Reuters 2018

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