No Vendor Bans in EU's 5G Guidelines

The European Commission stopped short of banning vendors such as Huawei from participating in Europe's 5G networks, instead approving a new set of guidelines to support what it hopes will be a secure and coordinated deployment of 5G throughout the European Union.

The new EU toolbox for 5G is the fruit of efforts to create a common European approach to 5G network security. Notably, member states have agreed to assess the risk profiles of suppliers and "apply relevant restrictions for suppliers considered to be high risk" -- a clear reference to the global furore over Huawei.

Importantly, each EU country will ultimately get to decide for itself whether or not a particular vendor is deemed to be a security threat.

However, recent events clearly illustrate that such decisions are very difficult to make. The UK -- set to exit the EU on Friday -- provoked a transatlantic storm following its announcement that Huawei could play a restricted role in the UK's 5G rollout.

Germany also continues to dither over the issue, though objective viewpoints will be tested following a report from German broadsheet Handelsblatt claiming the US furnished German politicians with "smoking gun" proof that Huawei has been working with China's security agencies.

An end to the international dispute does not yet appear to be in sight. For now, EU member states are requested to implement the measures recommended in the toolbox by April 30, 2020 and to prepare a joint report on the implementation by June 30.

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— Anne Morris, Contributing Editor, Light Reading

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