Portugal moves closer to banning Chinese 5G providers

By Sergio Goncalves

LISBON (Reuters) – Portugal’s cybersecurity council CSSC has issued a resolution that could outright ban telecoms operators from using Chinese equipment in their high-speed 5G mobile networks as well as 4G platforms on which the new technology is based.

The CSSC is the prime minister’s advisory body and its document, dated May 23, is another blow to Chinese tech giant Huawei’s efforts to enter the 5G market in Portugal and possibly extend existing contracts.

Under a law approved last August, the government can determine the “exclusion, restrictions on use or termination of use of equipment or services” of telecommunications companies, setting conditions and deadlines for operators to comply.

The government had no immediate comment.

The country’s major carriers Altice, NOS and Vodafone have already said they will not use Huawei’s equipment in 5G core networks, amid fears in Europe and the US that Chinese involvement in the critical infrastructure does not compromise security. Beijing and Huawei reject such suggestions.

Existing 5G networks in Portugal are not standalone and still rely heavily on 4G technology and equipment.

Without mentioning China or any Chinese supplier by name, the CSSC warned of a “high risk” to the security of suppliers or providers who “are headquartered in a country where the government exercises control, interference or pressure on its activities in third countries”.

His opinion is based on an undisclosed report that assessed the security of equipment in public electronic communications networks involving 5G technology.

He also cited security risks when the country where a supplier is based does not have data protection, cybersecurity or intellectual property protection agreements with Portugal or the European Union, or when it is not a member of the EU, NATO or the OECD.

Huawei said in a statement that it had “no prior knowledge and was not consulted about it” and was still gathering information “about the nature of the assessment” and hoped to continue to serve customers. Portuguese customers.

Europe has become a battleground in the tech rivalry between Beijing and Washington, and Huawei’s European competitors Ericsson and Nokia could become a supplier duopoly if the Chinese company is excluded.

(Reporting by Sergio Goncalves; Editing by Andrei Khalip and Mark Potter)

Leave a Comment