Germany is working on a deal that would give Huawei restricted freedoms. In a way, this is pretty similar to the UK deal. A report in Reuters suggests that the leading political parties in Germany are working on a strategy paper that would allow Huawei only a limited role to take part in the implementation of 5G networks. Similar to the UK, this is quite a sensible approach to take for the Huawei Conundrum while deploying the next generation of connectivity. The agreement states, “State actors with sufficient resources can infiltrate the network of any equipment maker. Even with comprehensive technical checks, security risks cannot be eliminated completely – they can at best be minimized. At the same time, we are not defenceless against attempts to eavesdrop on 5G networks. The use of strong cryptography and end-to-end encryption can secure confidentiality in communication and the exchange of data.”
The stance of the government has not been confirmed yet. The new position is likely to be voted on February 11, 2020. There are still some in the country, such as the Social Democratic Party, a junior coalition partner to the Christian Democratic party, who are pushing for an all-out ban. However, it looks like Huawei will make it, even if only with restricted function. The paper talks about approaches to take in order to manage Huawei which is quite similar to the one the UK has taken. With regards to the statement released by the German authorities, it looks like they are taking the stance that it would be impossible to guarantee 100% safety, regardless of the equipment manufacturer. It is just not rational to target one specific company.
The paper also mentions that the network would be split into three different components. This includes radio, transmission, and core. The authorities have also got different procedures in place for managing Huawei equipment based on its designation. Again, this risk-management approach is similar to the one in the UK. This is because the Germans are facing a similar issue where all the German telcos are already the customers of Huawei. They already have signed agreements in place to continue work with Huawei in the near future. If a full ban comes to force, this could create issues in terms of money and time.
BT has said that £500 million to be compatible with the Huawei restrictions in the RAN in the UK. While it could look like a huge sum, the amount could be even higher. This could happen if a complete ban was put in place. Other aspects that could affect the telcos include potential demands to have a multi-vendor supply chain, detailed security checks on equipment, and so on. One thing to always keep in mind is that no one can ever guarantee complete security. It is not yet certain which approach the German government will take. However, it appears that they will try to mitigate the risk and compensate for the existing state of affairs.