According to recent reports, the European Union (EU) is planning to enact laws that will ensure that 5G network in Europe does not rely heavily on a single supplier. These laws will ensure that some European operators and large global suppliers will have to renegotiate their agreements. The European Commission has sent a strong signal that it will not support any 5G network that relies heavily on a single supplier. In a risk assessment released this week, the committee warned that the lack of diversity will make 5G infrastructure more vulnerable – especially if the supplier already has risks.
The Commission’s report highlighted the deal announced by Norwegian Telia and Ericsson this week. According to the transaction, the Swedish supplier will fully control the operator’s Radio Access Network (RAN) within the next 4 years. It believes that such a situation is unacceptable in Europe (Norway is not part of the EU). Telecommunications companies that may be at risk include Three UK and Telecom Italia.
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Huawei is not the focus
However, Huawei and ZTE are each named only once in the report. The report also includes Nokia in Finland and Ericsson in Sweden. Total reliance on a single supplier will increase the difficulty of sourcing technology from other suppliers. Furthermore, this reduces the need for suppliers to develop safer products.
Ericsson, Huawei, and Nokia account for nearly 80% of the mobile infrastructure market. The committee’s report may also prompt a review of several transactions. In Italy, Telecom Italia relies heavily on Ericsson in the construction of 5G networks. Three UK and Huawei are also in a similar situation. Huawei has become the only 5G supplier of Three and it is gradually phasing out Samsung’s 4G equipment. However, the UK may be pulling out of the EU soon so these laws may not hurt Huawei or Three.
Huawei & Ericsson had their say
Equipment suppliers have had their say on the current situation. Huawei is happy that the EU is adopting an “evidence-based approach to thoroughly analyze risk rather than targeting specific countries or participants”. On Ericsson’s part, it said that it is closely watching the EU’s progress and may make an important contribution to understanding 5G security.