Germany to ban Chinese companies’ components from core parts of 5G networks

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Germany’s top security official announced that Germany will be banning the use of critical components from Chinese companies ZTE and Huawei in key parts of its 5G networks in two phases starting in 2026.

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Germany will ban the use of critical components from Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE in key parts of the country’s 5G networks in two phases starting in 2026, the nation’s top security official announced Thursday.

Germany, the largest economy in Europe, has long deliberated on the role of Chinese-made components in its next-generation mobile networks.

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser stated that critical components from Huawei and ZTE will be banned from 5G core networks by the end of 2026. Additionally, “critical management systems” from these manufacturers in 5G access and transport networks must be replaced by the end of 2029.

This decision follows recent negotiations with Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, and Telefonica, the operators of Germany’s 5G networks. Agreements will be signed with all three companies, according to the Interior Ministry.

“With this, we are protecting the central nervous systems of Germany as a business location, and we are protecting the communication of citizens, companies and the state,” it said. “We must reduce security risks and, unlike in the past, avoid one-sided dependencies.”

In recent years, the United States has successfully urged European allies, including Britain and Sweden, to ban or restrict Huawei equipment in their phone networks over concerns that Beijing could use it for cyber espionage or to sabotage critical communications infrastructure—allegations that Huawei has repeatedly denied. Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada have taken similar measures.

When asked about Thursday’s anticipated announcement at a daily briefing in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian stated that Huawei and other Chinese companies have been constructing high-quality infrastructure in Europe and creating numerous jobs. He emphasised that “there is no evidence that they endanger the national security of European countries.”

“Politicising economic, trade, and sci-tech issues will only undermine normal technical exchanges and cooperation and is not in the interest of any party,” he added.

Mutual suspicion between Western countries and China has increased since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in early 2022.

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