Portuguese authorities may prohibit Huawei and other foreign firms from national 5G networks

Portugal forbids its telecom companies from using Chinese equipment in their blazingly fast 5G mobile networks and the 4G platforms on which the new technology is built, making it the most recent nation to restrict Chinese firms from participating in the creation of its 5G network.

Possibly banning Huawei from 5G

The government may forbid the use of equipment in its 5G wireless network from manufacturers or distributors located outside the European Union (EU), as well as from countries not a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) or the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). This is in accordance with a deliberation report filed by the Superior Council for Cyberspace Security’s Safety Assessment Committee.

The Portuguese government claims that businesses that conduct business outside of specified areas constitute a “high risk” to the security of the country’s wireless network. China is neither a member of the EU, NATO, or OECD, despite the fact that the statement did not specifically reference the country or any Chinese telecom firm like Huawei.

Furthermore, while putting limitations on the use of Huawei’s goods, governments all over the world have referred to the corporation as a « high-risk vendor » using the term that is consistent with the Portuguese government’s use.

The Portuguese government claimed that the assessment’s findings were still « classified, » but added that they may result in the equipment and service users being excluded, unable to use it, or having their access to it terminated.

As a result, Huawei and other Chinese vendors like ZTE would effectively be prohibited from taking part in Portugal’s 5G networks as well as the 4G network that serves as the basis of the former if the security council’s recommendation is approved by the country’s government.

Huawei responded to the remark by telling the Financial Times, via a spokeswoman, that it « has no prior knowledge of, and hasn’t been consulted about, this matter. »

The spokesperson continued

“Over the past two decades, Huawei has worked with Portuguese carriers to build out wireless networks and provide quality services that connect millions of people. We will continue to comply with all applicable laws and regulations, and serve Portuguese customers and partners who rely on our products and services”.

Alliances Change

The issue of whether or not to allow telecommunications organisations to use Huawei equipment in 5G infrastructure has gained substantial relevance throughout Europe after Washington started an assault to persuade allies to restrict the Chinese telecoms industry on the grounds of national security.

The Chinese telecom firm has thus far been barred from working on the development of 5G networks in the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

However, Germany stated this year that it was researching the use of Chinese components in its 5G network and evaluating if a change to the legislation would be required.

Portugal was one of just a few European countries that have so far defied US government pressure. According to a Financial Times remark from the Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa, Chinese companies have « completely respected our legal framework and the rules of the market. »

In the previous 10 years, commerce between the two nations has grown, and as a result, Portugal has become one of the nations that have attracted the greatest Chinese investment per person.

But while the US keeps pushing its allies in Europe to cut ties with China, the new security measure denotes a significant shift in the relationship between the two. If Huawei is prohibited, its rivals in Europe, Nokia and Ericsson, may establish a supplier duopoly, to which it appears that businesses have already subscribed.

Despite having said in 2019 that it was working with Huawei to build its 5G technology, Altice, Portugal’s largest cellular provider, said earlier in the year that it had selected Nokia as the supplier of equipment for its core 5G network.

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