BERLIN (Reuters) – Huawei’s [HWT.UL] top manager in Germany has appealed to the government not to shut it out of building 5G mobile networks, Der Spiegel said on Friday, after Britain decided to purge the Chinese firm’s equipment from its network on security grounds.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has put off a decision on tougher certification rules until after the summer break, amid pressure from some lawmakers who sympathise with U.S. calls to ban Huawei outright.
“The government’s approach of setting the same, tough security criteria for all is the right way to ensure networks are secure,” Huawei’s representative in Germany, David Wang, told the weekly news magazine.
Germany’s three mobile operators are all customers of Huawei, which has had a presence in the country for 15 years. None have found any evidence to support U.S. allegations that its equipment is unsafe, Wang added.
Britain this month ordered Huawei equipment to be removed from its 5G network by the end of 2027, while France has told operators to rip out Huawei 5G gear by 2028 without announcing a public ban, sources say.
Deutsche Telekom, the German market leader, began building its 5G network under existing agreements and only signed a contract with the Chinese provider last month. Its 5G network now covers nearly half the population.
Analysts and industry sources say Deutsche Telekom, which opposes a Huawei ban, is seeking to pre-empt a such an outcome by rolling out most of its 5G network before a political decision is taken.
Spanish-controlled Telefonica Deutschland said this week it had signed backup 5G contracts with other telecoms vendors to cover the risk that Huawei ends up being barred from the German market.
(This story corrects context in paragraph 6 on 5G contract between Deutsche Telekom and Huawei)
(Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Edmund Blair and David Evans)