Telekom warns in Huawei debate: “Time is running out”

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Telekom boss Timotheus Höttges

The Telekom CEO presents a 5G antenna.

(Photo: REUTERS)

Dusseldorf Deutsche Telekom warns of setbacks for Germany if the federal government does not commit itself to dealing clearly with the controversial Chinese network supplier Huawei. “Time is running out,” said a Telekom spokesman. “Five months ago – at the beginning of December 2019 – Deutsche Telekom said that it would temporarily not sign any new 5G contracts.”

In contrast to rivals such as Vodafone or Telefónica, Telekom had taken a clear position. The competitors, on the other hand, had announced that they would continue to use components from Huawei in the further expansion of their networks.

The network expansion is progressing. Telekom Germany chief Dirk Wössner had announced that the Dax group would roll out 5G for half of Germany’s population by the end of this year. So far, the steps have mainly relied on software updates of the existing components and the installation of previously purchased 5G test antennas.

The approach now has its limits. “The next steps will also require new contracts with the manufacturers,” said the Telekom spokesman. “Without upgrading the existing mobile communications infrastructure, we won’t get a fast 5G in Germany.”

According to Handelsblatt information, Telekom had informed the Ministry of the Interior that it could no longer wait with new orders for 5G equipment. Accordingly, Telekom wants to intensify its partnership with Huawei. Corresponding discussions are currently being held according to industry circles.

US government considers Huawei a security risk

Telekom did not provide any information on this. The spokesman said that there is a “normal exchange with the manufacturers”. Regarding the contact with the Federal Ministry of the Interior, he said: “In view of the corona pandemic, we are in constant communication with the Federal Government, especially with regard to network stability and network expansion.”

Huawei is internationally recognized as the leading provider of 5G mobile communications equipment. Companies such as Ericsson and Nokia also manufacture 5G components in Europe. Deutsche Telekom primarily uses Huawei and Ericsson – the majority of the Chinese equipment being used on the Dax Group’s network.

Huawei has been repeatedly referred to by the US government as a security risk. Washington called on other countries not to use Chinese equipment. Huawei has denied all allegations.

More: Deutsche Telekom relies on Huawei and thus provokes a dispute with Berlin.

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