The Chinese vendor argues that their exclusion from the Romania’s 5G infrastructure could cost the country billions of euros, as well as contravening EU law
Last month, the Romanian government signed off on a draft security law that would see Huawei banned from participating in the nation’s 5G networks.
The move came as a result of prolonged political pressure from the US, despite Huawei attempting to challenge the draft law on legal grounds in the months leading up to the decision.
Now, however, it seems that Huawei is once again set to argue against the bill’s validity, asking the government amend the draft that it recently submitted to Parliament to be ratified into law.
Huawei is asking that various industry stakeholders, including suppliers, telecoms operators, and consumer associations, be invited to participate in the debate surrounding the bill, noting that their exclusion will have severe economic consequences for the country. According to Huawei, the bill will result in a €2.56 billion in expenses for the nation’s telcos, causing €4.67 billion in indirect losses.
The company has made similar economic claims in the past when various European countries were mulling banning them for 5G. In 2019, the GSMA estimated that a ban on Huawei by European operators would see the continent’s 5G rollout cost an additional €62 billion. Similar misgivings have been voiced by various operators over the past couple of years, with BT, for example, suggesting that Huawei’s removal would cost them £500 million.
Nonetheless, economic concerns alone have not been enough to dissuade legislators, with many countries, including the UK, proceeding to restrict Huawei over the past year.
The Chinese vendor is also arguing that the Romanian law should refer to the EU’s 5G toolkit, launched at the start of 2020, and that any ban should only apply to the most sensitive parts of the network (i.e., the core), leaving them free to supply RAN equipment. They are also arguing that network cybersecurity be managed on a technical basis, citing German and Finnish legislature as examples.
Ultimately, Huawei’s arguments here are largely those we have heard repeated time and time again over the past couple of years; namely, that they do not represent a security threat and that any restrictions to 5G suppliers should come as the result of technical assessments, not geopolitical decision-making.
Nonetheless, Huawei’s previous legal challenge against this bill, which claimed the law discriminated against them based on their country of origin, thereby violating EU law, has seemingly resulted in little change and it seems likely that these proposed amendments will also be disregarded.
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