The mobile industry’s trade association warns that banning specific network equipment providers from 5G rollouts would stifle competition
The GSMA, has called for a standardised safety certification process for all 5G network equipment being used in Europe. The organisation claims that such a process would negate the need for countries to ban individual providers and guarantee the highest standards of network security for the entire continent.
“European mobile operators already have established working relationships with national security agencies across Europe. These operators stand ready to work with policy makers now to agree on further proportionate and risk-based methods, not least a common, consistent and agreed security assurance, testing and certification regime for Europe. This will give confidence in network security while maintaining competition and innovation in the supply of network equipment and data affordability to end-users,” a GSMA spokesperson told the press in a pre-prepared statement.
The GSMA warned that by banning individual network equipment providers on the basis of here say and speculation could risk reducing competition in the sector, which it said was crucial for keeping down the costs of 5G rollout in Europe.
“Mobile operators need access to the best available technology to efficiently roll out best-in-class 5G networks across Europe, which will, in turn, enable innovations in Artificial Intelligence, Internet-of-Things and Big Data. Competition amongst equipment vendors has been a major driver of innovation,” the GSMA spokesman said.
The GSMA also warned that by banning specific network equipment providers from Europe’s 5G rollout programme, countries risked forcing MNOs to retrospectively strip out the 4G equipment that will underpin their 5G networks – further delaying the rollout of 5G and exponentially increasing the cost.
“Limiting or stalling the deployment of 5G or requiring changes to existing 4G infrastructure, risks leaving European consumers and businesses behind and investment and innovation will move to those countries where 5G is happening first and fastest, impacting jobs and growth,” the statement read.
The announcement comes as the US government has called for Europe to exclude Chinese network equipment providers, (namely Huawei and ZTE) from their 5G rollout programmes, on the basis that they pose a security risk. The US has not provided any evidence to corroborate its assertions that Chinese network equipment is any less secure than that if its European competitors. However, the US has threatened any European nations using Chinese network equipment that they could find themselves in a “difficult position” with the US.
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