Tech

A top German carrier picks Huawei to help build its 5G network in potential snub to the US

Key Points
  • Telefonica Deutschland, one of Germany's top mobile carriers, has picked Huawei and Nokia to build out its 5G network. 
  • The move is a potential snub to the U.S. government which has been campaigning for its allies to keep the Chinese telecoms equipment giant out of 5G networks.
  • Telefonica Deutschland said it was waiting for government approval for the move. 
Chinese telecom giant Huawei announced on October 16, 2019 that it has passed the 400,000 5G antennas mark, the fifth generation of mobile phones, in the world with 56 operators who have already started to roll out the new mobile network.
STEFAN WERMUTH | AFP | Getty Images

Telefonica Deutschland, one of Germany's top mobile carriers, has picked Huawei and Nokia to build out its 5G network.

5G refers to next-generation mobile networks that promise super-fast data speeds and low latency — a short amount of time between the data being summoned and it reaching its destination.

The move is a potential snub to the U.S. government which has been campaigning for its allies to keep the Chinese telecoms equipment giant out of their 5G networks. Washington maintains that Huawei represents a security risk because its equipment could be used for espionage by Beijing. Huawei has repeatedly denied this allegation.

Countries have approached Huawei with mixed views. Japan and Australia have effectively banned the company from their 5G networks. Meanwhile, the U.K. has yet to make a final decision.

The German government decided in October it would not exclude Huawei from its 5G networks. Instead, it introduced a draft proposal for security guidelines when it comes to 5G equipment. It could mean that equipment from vendors need to be certified.

Telefonica Deutschland said it was waiting for government approval.

The telecoms company chose Huawei and Nokia to build its so-called Radio Access Network or RAN. This is essentially the part of the network that hooks up your devices with the actual 5G signal. It is different to the so-called "core" which is like the brain of the network. The RAN is often seen as less sensitive than the core in terms of security.

Telefonica Deutschland said it has not yet chosen which company will build its core for 5G.

While China has already turned on its 5G networks and some U.S. carriers have rolled out the technology, Europe is seen as lagging behind.