Regulation

EU Countries Gain Ability To Exclude ‘High-Risk’ 5G Suppliers

In A Blow To Huawei, EU Countries Can Now Protect Core Of 5G Networks From Vendors

New guidelines from the European Union (EU) allow for countries to restrict or exclude “high-risk” 5G providers from important parts of their telecom networks, according to Reuters. The news means that Chinese 5G provider Huawei Technologies could be affected. 

The recommendations are meant to tackle potential cybersecurity issues at both the country- and EU-level. While Huawei was not named in particular, the company is an obvious target, and the U.S. has also expressed concern. These guidelines warn about security interference from a third country in the supply chain of 5G networks, as well as the dangers of relying on only one vendor.

The document outlining the restrictions said that the EU countries must do a risk profile of their suppliers, and put hard restrictions on those that are high risk. These restrictions involve excluding those suppliers from anything that could potentially cause a security problem. It’s also important that governments not rely on only one supplier, and that they diversify operations.

The U.S. has been pressuring the EU to be cautious of Huawei, especially over fears that the company could use its equipment to spy on other nations. Huawei, a competitor of Nokia and Ericsson, has repeatedly denied that it performs any type of clandestine operations.

The guidelines say that EU countries should create a framework, either legal or regulatory, to keep an eye on outsourced suppliers, as well as to curtail and monitor access to infrastructure. In addition, EU countries need to audit their telecom operators, requiring them to list details about where they received their 5G equipment and outline their security procedures.

European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager will talk about the issue on Jan. 29, and outline the steps moving forward. Many in the EU see 5G as an important aspect to economic growth.    

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