Germany launches 5G auction amid row with US over Huawei

On Tuesday, 19th March 2019, Germany launched its auction for the construction of the next best network technology, 5G mobile network. Though the launch wasn’t welcomed by the United States as they flagged it as a security concern for the usage of Chinese Telecom equipment maker, Huawei. The US believes that the Chinese equipment is capable of spying on Western companies and governments, if it is given the power of such magnitudes.

Angela Merkel ruled out blocking Huawei from Germany’s 5G network, but said stringent telecommunications laws will be drafted.

“So far, lots of countries have used Huawei technology,” said Germany’s chancellor at a conference in Berlin.

“That’s why the federal government has not taken the approach of simply ruling out any contractor or stakeholder, but we have set standards for those bidding for 5G technology.”

Upon further questioning, she said, “We will also write these standards legally into our telecommunications laws. We will give everyone a chance, but shouldn’t be naive, instead we see that there are very different laws in China.”

5G, fifth-generation, mobile network, is by far the fastest and the latest generation of cellular mobile communications and Berlin requires winning bidders, from any origin following the set code of conduct, to be able to provide the service throughout Germany.

Internet Speeds: an unnoticeable issue in Europe

Germany, who is Europe’s biggest economy generator and provides wireless networks throughout Europe, wants to make amends in their considerably low rank in the world for download speeds by sealing the deal and shifting to the 5G system. Currently, four operators are running as contenders to secure the 41 different frequency blocks ready for acquirement in the auction. The bidders include Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, Telefonica Germany (O2) and United Internet (1&1). While Huawei not being a direct contender, it holds significance due to its issuance of essential hardware such as antennas and routers to the four competitors.

Jochen Homann, chairman of the German Federal Network Agency (BNA), said: “Huawei is an important supplier, already present in our previous networks—it will be difficult to do without such companies and this is not at all what we want.”

Security compromise: Haunting the United States

Following the auction launch, the United States of America accused Beijing with the idea of usage of Huawei’s 5G network as a probable virus, also known as Trojan horse, that might result in transmission of classified data to the Chinese government, which is their primary motive.

According to authentic media reports, the United States issued warning through its foreign ambassador and the NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, that NATO forces will continue to cut communications with Germany if it were to bookend this potentially harmful deal with Huawei.

However, it’s not the United States that’s sensing danger. Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND) also asked the government to comprehend this deal on a broader security perspective and cover all the necessary angles by agreeing upon a law compelling cooperation in security issues.