EU warns member states to choose 5G suppliers carefully

The European Commission (EC) has suggested that telecommunications equipment from non-European manufacturers could pose a greater threat than those produced within the EU.

In a risk assessment, the Commission said that 5G would increase the threat volume compared to current generations of mobile networks as more connected devices and sensitive data are transferred.

With public services and industries that rely on constant connectivity, the availability and security of networks is becoming a national issue.

EU 5G security

In particular, the European Commission fears that mobile operators will become more dependent on their providers and that the software used has a vulnerability that could jeopardize national security. This threat would be greater if operators were to deploy a single provider in their infrastructure.

However, no supplier or country was specifically designated by the Commission.

"Among the various potential actors, non-EU or state-sponsored states are considered to be the most serious, most likely to target 5G networks," it says. "In this context, as suppliers become increasingly vulnerable, the risk profile of individual suppliers becomes particularly important, including the likelihood that the supplier will be disrupted by a non-EU country."

The Swedish company Ericsson and the Finnish company Nokia are competing with the Chinese company Huawei to equip the European operators with a 5G kit. Cisco and Samsung are also involved. However, the US has effectively put Huawei out of the market for national security reasons and urges its allies to do the same.

However, the US has not provided any evidence to support its allegation, while Huawei repeatedly denied any allegations of misconduct. In any case, European operators would have little appetite for a ban, fearing that prices would rise and that innovations would be stifled.

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