Deutsche Telekom puts all 5G deals on ice, citing political uncertainty

News

Deutsche Telekom has frozen all 5G deals with vendors, awaiting a decision about the use of Huawei in its networks, according to Reuters.

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel previously backed a proposed regulatory framework that would not block any single vendor but would subject all to equal security scrutiny.

It is understood, though, that senior lawmakers have now called for a Huawei ban. Estimates suggest that Huawei makes up 70% of Germany’s mobile networks today.

The freeze comes as a $26 billion US merger between Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile and Sprint hangs in the balance. Several states have moved to block the deal and the case is due to be heard in New York on December 9.

A Deutsche Telekom spokesperson is quoted as saying: “In light of the unclear political situation, we are not currently entering into any 5G contracts - with any vendor. We are currently informing vendors of this.”

European plan

Huawei has strongly denied US allegations that its equipment is used for espionage by the Chinese state. Reports say President Trump has continued to press other countries to exclude the Chinese equipment maker's tech during the Nato summit this week.

EU member states are due to agree on EU-level measures to mitigate 5G cybersecurity risks by 31 December 2019, following a report published in October.

By 1 October 2020, Member States must assess the recommendations to determine whether further action is needed.