Germany’s telecommunications regulator has sent a clear signal that will not ban Huawei from its country’s 5G mobile network upgrades.
Jochen Homann, the president of the Bundesnetzagentur, or federal network agency, told the Financial Times, “The position the Bundesnetzagentur takes is that no equipment supplier, including Huawei, should, or may, be specifically excluded.”
Last month, the US ambassador to Berlin warned the German government that Washington would consider scaling back intelligence co-operation should Huawei be given a role in the 5G roll-out.
The US has been on a push to get allies to drop Huawei, which it alleges colludes with the Chinese government on covert surveillance.
But Homann said his agency had yet to see evidence to back up such concerns:
“The Bundesnetzagentur has not received any concrete indications against Huawei. Nor are we aware of any other body in Germany that has received any reliable indications,” he told the FT.
The German regulator’s words will fresh impetus to Huawei NZ, which recently told the Herald it still hopes to participate in 5G upgrades here, where it has extensive 4G business with Spark and 2degrees.
On November 28, the GCSB blocked a Spark 5G network upgrade proposal that included Huawei gear. GCSB minister Andrew Little says Huawei is not banned per se. Spark and Huawei are welcome to submit a revised proposal that addresses the (never-made-public) concerns raised by the spy agency. Spark says it’s still assessing its position.
Huawei also took succor from a recent UK report, which said criticised Huawei technology but did not find evidence of a “back door” that could be exploited by the Chinese government.
Huawei NZ deputy chief executive told the Herald on April 2 that the UK finding of “clumsy coding” made for “uncomfortable” reading. But although embarrassing, it was a technical issue that could be addressed by software engineering tweaks, not an espionage issue.