European companies Nokia and Ericsson can provide the European Union with everything it needs to develop 5G infrastructure if the Chinese company Huawei were sidelined for security reasons, the European Commission said on Friday.
Three firms offer complete solutions for 5G: Finland’s Nokia, Sweden’s Ericsson and Chinese Huawei, said a European official, who wanted to remain anonymous.
Others, such as Korea’s Samsung and China’s ZTE, offer solutions “for part of the network”, the official added.
Security must come first for Europe, the Commission said in a report published on Friday.
“It is more important than ever to ensure a high level of security when deploying 5G networks in the EU in view of the growing needs for digital infrastructure in our economies,” said Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton.
“In cooperation with Member States, we are committed to putting in place reliable, coordinated measures not only to ensure the cybersecurity of 5G but also to strengthen our technological autonomy,” he added in a statement.
“The integrity of telecommunications networks is the keystone of a secure architecture in all Member States”, said Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer.
The European Union must “identify high risk suppliers”, the European Commission said.
But Huawei said it could be trusted.
“We are not a newcomer in Europe, we have been here and we have been a trusted partner in Europe for nearly 20 years,” Abraham Liu, Huawei’s Chief Representative to the EU, told Euronews.
“Europe’s authorities, politicians, should have enough confidence to its own authorities and to its own operators, which are the top operators in the world and they have the first class cyber security standards and experts in the industry,” he added.
The UK, which left the EU this year, said on on July 15 it would strip its 5G network of all equipment produced by Huawei, citing security fears.
The purchase of new Huawei equipment will be banned after December 31, 2020 and existing equipment will have to be retired by 2027, the British government said.
The decision was welcomed by the US administration, and denounced as “politicised” by Beijing.
Nokia and Ericsson said they will be able to replace the Chinese group in the UK.