Germany’s Interior Ministry wants to ban critical components from Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp. from its 5G mobile network, according to a person familiar with the discussions.
(Bloomberg) — Germany’s Interior Ministry wants to ban critical components from Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp. from its 5G mobile network, according to a person familiar with the discussions.
Several time frames for the ban are being considered, including starting in 2026, the person said, asking not to be identified because the discussions are not public.
The ministry is conducting a review of how much German mobile networks rely on Chinese technology for critical infrastructure as the US pushes its allies to reduce dependence on such equipment amid deteriorating relations.
The audit isn’t complete and discussions with other ministries that are involved in the decision continue, an Interior Ministry spokesperson said on Wednesday.
DPA first reported the Interior Ministry’s position.
Huawei said the audit appears discriminatory and is not based on technical assessments. If Germany politicizes the decision, it will slow down the country’s digital transformation and drive up costs for consumers, according to a Huawei statement.
Mobile internet speed and affordability, as well as avoiding dependencies, are key issues when considering a ban, a spokesperson for the Transport and Digital Ministry, which is also involved in the talks, said via email.
The US, UK and European Union have become increasingly focused on security risks posed by Chinese companies. Republicans in the US are pushing the Biden administration to expand partial sanctions on Huawei after the company released an advance phone that appeared to use some US technology.
Read More: Republicans Demand Full Huawei Sanctions After Chip Breakthrough
Germany has been more hesitant to implement a ban on Chinese parts than some of its allies. The UK banned Huawei from next-generation 5G wireless networks in 2020 and limited its presence in fixed networks, citing supply-chain concerns after the US imposed sanctions on the company.
Deutsche Telekom AG, Germany’s largest telecommunications provider, said a 2026 ban is not realistic. “In the UK, for example, even an exchange over a period of seven years is too ambitious,” spokesperson Stephan Broszio said.
Germany opted to allow components from Huawei when companies, including Deutsche Telekom, built 5G networks. However, Berlin has since taken a tougher stance on China and sought to reduce its dependence on individual countries following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
(Updates with digital ministry and Deutsche Telekom comments starting in seventh paragraph.)
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