Germany to Phase Out Huawei from 5G Networks

Huawei’s 5G leadership in question due to security concerns
German mobile operators follow US & UK in a security move to replace network of 5G technology made by Chinese companies, such as Huawei and ZTE

The German government and German mobile phone carriers have agreed to phase out components made by Chinese technology companies, such as Huawei and ZTE, from Germany's 5G wireless network. 

This agreement provides mobile network operators Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica Deutschland additional time to replace critical parts for mobiles.

Security-led removal of Chinese technology from 5G networks

In a move based on security considerations, German mobile operators will remove the nation's core network of 5G data centres of technology made by Chinese companies. A second phase will see antennas, transmission lines and towers made in China eliminated by 2029.

“The government is acting on the basis of the national security strategy and China strategy to reduce possible security risks and dependencies,” said a spokesperson.

There are concerns that Chinese-made mobile devices might be used to collect user data, allowing the Chinese government to access sensitive information through pre-installed malware.

Other countries have previously acted upon such fears that Chinese-made mobile products could be also used to disrupt critical infrastructure. 

Over in the UK, buying new Huawei 5G equipment was banned after December 2020, while all Huawei equipment was ordered to be removed from 5G networks by the end of 2027.

“5G will be transformative for our country, but only if we have confidence in the security and resilience of the infrastructure it is built upon,” said Oliver Dowden, then-Digital Secretary. “Following US sanctions against Huawei and updated technical advice from our cyber experts, the government has decided it is necessary to ban Huawei from our 5G networks. No new kit is to be added from January 2021, and UK 5G networks will be Huawei free by the end of 2027.”

In 2022, the Biden administration banned approvals of new telecommunications equipment from China's Huawei Technologies and ZTE because they pose ‘an unacceptable risk’ to U.S. national security.

"These new rules are an important part of our ongoing actions to protect the American people from national security threats involving telecommunications," said Jessica Rosenworcel, FCC Chairwoman. 

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Huawei’s 5G leadership on show at MWC Shanghai

Despite security concerns from some countries, Huawei’s 5G continues to evolve and the company works closer with AI.

5G-A (the ‘A’ is for ‘advanced’) is the next step in 5G technology, which offers a range of benefits, such as higher data rates, stronger machine learning techniques, clearer coverage inside buildings and in rural locations, as well as greater energy efficiency. In the latest edition of Mobile magazine, we ranked our Top 10: 5G Leaders, where we included Huawei’s Li Peng. 

Li joined Huawei in 1999 and has worked up the ranks from General Manager of the Xi'an Representative Office to Assistant to the President of the China Region. Now, Li is a member of the Supervisory Board and President of ICT Sales & Service. Previously, he worked at Nokia in Shanghai as FTTx Customer Technical Advocate. Li also worked in Saudi Arabia as a Technical Support Engineer for Ericsson. He has a BA in Electronic Information and Technology Science from Hebei University.

Another suitable candidate was Huawei’s Eric Zhao, who revealed the business plan to bring AI to networks using RAN Intelligent Agent, at the 2024 MWC Shanghai, from the 5G-A & AI Roundtable. Ultimately, uniting AI with 5G-A networks will advance network productivity. In addition, the RAN Intelligent Agent offers copilots, to support role-based chatbots.

"Our goal is to bring AI to networks. To achieve this, we will, for our part, shift from a solution provider to a co-builder of intelligent networks,” Eric explained. “We believe that the co-growth of RAN Intelligent Agent and networks will create more extensive business value, transform networks more rapidly, and lead our industry into a new era of intelligence."

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