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German Powerhouse Refuses To Bow To US Call For Huawei Ban

Germaan Telecoms

Trump has failed to convince Europe to steer clear of Huawei in the ongoing tech cold war with Beijing. Germany is a rather large case in point. 

Contrary to the pressurized advice of the U.S. administration, one of Germany’s main mobile carriers has chosen Chinese smartphone giant Huawei for the deployment of its next-generation 5G network.

Telefonica Deutschland, which operates Germany’s second-largest wireless network, has chosen Huawei alongside Finland’s Nokia to supply equipment to its 5G network, with the goal of launching major 5G projects by the end of 2021. 

But this isn’t the end of the 5G road for Germany’s telecoms giant … the deal still needs approval from the German parliament, who are expected to debate it in the coming months.

Currently, the authorities are finalizing the security rules for telecom equipment suppliers. 

The Trump administration has made several efforts to persuade European countries not to partner with Huawei, claiming that it could provide the Chinese electronics giant access to private information of citizens.

Washington has alleged that China could use the company’s products to spy on other nations. 

For its part, the U.S. has effectively blacklisted Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei on national security concerns about whether China could use Huawei equipment to spy. Huawei has repeatedly said those concerns are unfounded. 

In fact, earlier this year, U.S. intelligence heads warned American citizens against using Huawei and ZTE products. 

Germany is not the only one to ditch U.S. calls to ban Huawei. Telefonica Deutschland move came as some European Union member state officials have said publicly that they would not follow the U.S. in excluding Huawei from its 5G network rollout.

So far, no European country has formally blocked Huawei, and the majority of the company's current global 5G contracts are with companies operating within Europe.

In September, the U.S. and Poland signed an agreement to cooperate on new 5G technology as concerns grow about Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. Earlier, Polish authorities arrested a Chinese employee of Huawei and a former Polish security official on spying allegations. But keep in mind that Poland is continually butting heads with Brussels, with the Supreme Court most recently saying that the country might have to leave the Union over judicial reform differences. 

Elsewhere, Australia and New Zealand have banned the use of Huawei products in their 5G networks while Japan said it will drop Huawei from its government procurement list. Meanwhile, the UK has yet to make a final decision.

As for Africa, where China invested $300 billion in the last decade and announced $60 billion more, it is safe to say that China has subsidized the continent’s connectivity and is clearly in control while the U.S. has lost serious footing here. 

Since no provider is able to build infrastructure at the price or speed Huawei can, the company is reportedly responsible for up to 70% of Africa's telecommunications network – and the infrastructure is often financed by Chinese loans.

In August, the Wall Street Journal reported that technicians from Huawei had helped the governments of Uganda and Zambia spy on their political opponents.

Last year, French newspaper Le Monde reported that China had spied on the AU’s headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. Neither of the allegations were investigated beyond media reports.

By Tom Kool for Safehaven.com

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