Germany does not want to ban Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei Technologies from building its 5G networks, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said Friday, adding that Berlin would tighten security criteria for all vendors instead.
Asked on a ZDF television talk show if the government plans to bar Huawei from the upcoming 5G auction due to security concerns, Altmaier said: “No, we will not want to exclude any company.”
But the government will change the law to ensure that all components used in the 5G networks will be secure and that there will be no violations against data protection rules, he added.
Altmaier also said that the government would not use its increased veto powers to fend off foreign takeovers in this case because the construction of the 5G network was not an issue of a merger or an acquisition.
Germany on Thursday set tougher criteria for vendors supplying telecoms network equipment, stopping short of singling out China’s Huawei Technologies for special treatment and instead saying the same rules should apply to all vendors.
The announcement follows months of debate over whether to side with the United States and some allies in barring Huawei from 5G networks due to security concerns.
The ground rules released by the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) stated that critical equipment should only be used after scrutiny and certification overseen by Germany’s BSI federal cybersecurity watchdog.
“Critical core components may only be procured from trustworthy vendors and manufacturers,” the BNetzA said.
German telecom operators have opposed Washington’s calls to ban Huawei.
German operators, led by Deutsche Telekom, have warned that any requirement to rip out and replace Huawei equipment in existing networks could delay the rollout of 5G networks by years.
Regulators had been keen to ensure clarity before the BNetzA holds an auction later this month of 5G spectrum that will be used to deliver services such as high-speed home broadband or help run connected factories.