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Mobile communications: Merkel continues to see "no suspicions" about Huawei

Last updated on March 9, 2021

The dispute over Huawei is still in full swing. Today the Chancellor clarified the position of the federal government once again. The SPD faction and the Greens had introduced new positions.

December 18, 2019, 10:10 p.m

Angela Merkel speaks in the Bundestag. (Image: Bundestag)

Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) again opposed the exclusion of Huawei from 5G expansion in Germany on Wednesday. “I am against the principle exclusion of a company,” said Merkel to Sabine Poschmann (SPD) during the government questioning session of the Bundestag. “First of all I have knowledge – like you also believe – that Huawei has been used in a variety of ways in the 2, 3 and 4G networks, not only in Germany but also elsewhere in Europe. That we – at least I’ve never been told that by any telecommunications company – have not raised any suspicions. “ 5G is a new qualitative level, you have to think again.

Merkel advised caution when making a general allegation of dumping prices against Huawei. Otherwise, they are “very proud that, unlike in other cases; where we are much more dependent, Ericsson and Nokia have two companies that also offer very high quality products.” Nokia has received $ 2.2 billion in 5G contracts from the three largest Chinese operators, China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom. Ericsson has also signed very large contracts there.

Merkel announced another “discussion process with the parliament” on the question. In view of the US government’s unproven allegations of possible espionage and sabotage by the Chinese government over Huawei technology, a group of Union, SPD and Greens deputies is calling for an expulsion from Huawei. Next week, several applications will be submitted to the Bundestag, and a position of the grand coalition will be worked out by January.

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SPD faction against the standardization body 3GPP

A position paper of the SPD parliamentary group wants to completely exclude Chinese manufacturers from the 5G expansion. “With 5G, the previous separation of core and access network, which is still postulated by parts of the mobile operators, will no longer exist,” it says. According to a mobile phone expert, this does not correspond to the specifications of 3GPP, a cooperation of standardization bodies. The standard is that the RAN system is logically and physically separated from the core in all relevant implementations known to date.

4G RAN hardware is expected to continue to be used for five to seven years. Before that, a switch to the existing infrastructure, as required by the SPD, can hardly be assumed.

OpenRAN, which the SPD faction demands, has been tried by Nokia and Intel, but has so far not worked satisfactorily in any commercial use, according to information from Huawei also used OpenRAN in development and came to the conclusion that it is not satisfactory in terms of energy consumption, performance and throughput.

Oliver Harzheim, Vodafone security chief, said on December 12, 2019 in the Bundestag: “I can already tell you that we will definitely pursue an open-RAN approach in the future. The technology is not yet ready for the market at the moment , even if it is now used in good pilots in some countries. Vodafone already has some pilot markets. But I think it will certainly take two or three years until it is ready for the market in a country like Germany. Even then we will become Open-RAN Technology, and we will of course also take advantage of Open-RAN technology in that simply the diversity of the manufacturers will increase again very strongly. “ It then becomes much easier to exchange individual components for one another.

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