Telefonica Deutschland has picked China’s Huawei and Nokia of Finland to take an equal role in building Germany’s 5G network, one of the largest German telecom companies said in a statement on Wednesday.
CEO Markus Haas, for his part, told reporters that the company hopes that “this window of uncertainty will be as short as possible - we don’t yet have certification for any of our vendors”.
He apparently referred to the ongoing debate in Germany over whether Berlin would heed US warnings that Huawei should be excluded from 5G network infrastructure over security risks.
Haas expressed hope that Huawei and Nokia would build the Telefonica Deutschland 5G Radio Access Network on a 50-50 basis, something which he said is yet to get relevant certification in Germany.
A preliminary business plan stipulates the beginning of 5G-related work in early 2020, with the network expected to be completed in Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne and Frankfurt by the end of 2021.
A year later, 5G infrastructure is due to be in place in 30 German cities with a population of 16 million people. Huawei has yet to comment on the issue.
Germany Considers Opening Its 5G Market to Huawei – Report
Telefonica Deutschland’s moves comes amid media reports that new security requirements for local telecommunications networks may allow Huawei to take part in the construction of Germany’s 5G infrastructure.
The draft document, due to be published at the end of this or at the beginning of next year, reportedly delegates the right to determine what constitutes critical or core infrastructure to the network operators themselves.
Critical or core infrastructure of 5G networks will, however, be subject to inspections by Germany's Office for Information Security, which will check if the components are fully manageable and able to pass safety tests.
This followed German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas insisting in March that Berlin “can never be blackmailed” when he was asked whether the country’s government could tolerate the reported threats by the US Ambassador Richard Grenell to reduce cooperation between their intelligence services if Germany allows Huawei to take part in developing its 5G networks.
His statement echoed that of German Chancellor Angela Merkel who opposed excluding Huawei or any other company from the development of the country’s 5G mobile network just because it comes from a certain country.
Washington’s Crackdown on Huawei
The US launched a crusade against the world’s telecom giant in May, when it put Huawei on its blacklist and pressed its allies to cut cooperation with the company building next-generation wireless networks overseas.
Washington claims that Huawei has been stealing commercial information and spying on behalf of the Chinese government, which both Beijing and the company have consistently denied.
Apart from the US, New Zealand and Australia also banned Huawei from developing their 5G networks, citing security threats. At the same time, the UK, Germany, India, and the United Arab Emirates have been reluctant to comply with US demands.