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Vodafone Germany boss: Huawei exclusion would delay 5G expansion by 5 years

Last updated on March 9, 2021

Instead of scaring off Huawei, Vodafone wants a fact-based discussion about technical solutions and protective mechanisms.

Vodafone named Huawei Supplier of the Year 2018 (Image: Huawei)

The CEO of Vodafone Germany, Hannes Ametsreiter, warns the federal government against excluding the Chinese network supplier Huawei from the new 5G mobile communications standard. “An exclusion of Huawei would lead to the 5G expansion being delayed by up to five years and costing significantly more,” Ametsreiter told Focus magazine .

He justified this with the fact that exclusion would require major technical interventions when converting to the new 5G standard. Like Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom and Telefónica Deutschland also work in the cellular network with equipment from Huawei and firmly reject an exclusion.

The Austrian manager does not share the security concerns against the Chinese company. “Instead of scare-mongering, I would rather have a fact-based discussion about technical solutions and protection mechanisms for companies, such as encryption ,” Ametsreiter told Focus. At the same time he emphasized that a ban is a “political decision” that one might have to accept.

The US accuses Huawei of violating Iran and North Korea sanctions, stealing US intellectual property and installing backdoors for Chinese intelligence in its cellular equipment, which Huawei denies. The US has not provided any evidence for the allegations for years, despite several announcements. According to information from WDR, NDR and Süddeutscher Zeitung from February 2020, the German security authorities are not convinced by the US information. There is still no evidence of espionage by Huawei. On the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference in February 2020, several government representatives also expressed great doubts about the veracity of the American claims. A senior government official spoke of “propaganda” .

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In the government , the Foreign Office of Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) continues to block an agreement between the Union and the SPD on a possible exclusion of components from the Chinese supplier Huawei from the development of the 5G mobile network. The Union-led ministries and the Chancellery are strictly against it.

If the ministerial draft of the new IT Security Act 2.0 is blocked further, Huawei will remain one of the most important suppliers in the German cellular networks. Currently there is no trustworthiness check and no certification obligations under applicable law. If the government cannot come to an agreement, there should be no new law with these regulations. According to previous information, the technology is first tested by the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) for the approval of 5G equipment. Only if the Federal Chancellery, the Foreign Office, the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Economic Affairs mutually raise concerns against a provider in the second stage, they could refuse a manufacturer’s approval despite a safety assessment by the BSI.