EU Praises Region’s ‘Progress’ Restricting High-Risk 5G Vendors

The European Union praised “good progress” in tackling risky suppliers of core fifth-generation mobile network equipment and called on other member states to follow suit.

With countries in the region under intensifying U.S.pressure to ban China’s Huawei Technologies Co., the bloc published a report on Friday that assessed how well governments were reducing security risks in the shift to 5G.

Britain decided this month to ban Huawei from future wireless infrastructure following intense pressure from Washington. France announced it’simposing a waiver system that’s set to severely limit Huawei’s use.

The EU said other countries should “further advance and complete this process in the coming months,” referring to efforts to remove risky vendors from the most sensitive core parts of 5G infrastructure. It said progress was also still “urgently needed” to reduce the risk of dependency on high-risk suppliers in non-core areas of networks.

Governments should make transition arrangements to smooth the process for telecom operators that already work with high-risk vendors, it said.

The bloc has no power over members states’ national security policy but seeks to coordinate responses to external threats and in January issued a socalled “toolbox” of measures to address risks to communication networks.

Itstopped short of calling for a ban on Huawei at the time, but urged European countries to exclude high-risk suppliers from critical or sensitive parts of their networks and ensure a diversity of vendors.

The push to remove Huawei risks reliatory moves by Beijing, and raises potential problems for countries trying to meet another EU goal — ensuring adiversity of suppliers.

The EU on Friday acknowledged challenges in designing “multi-vendor strategies,” and pointed to a lack of interoperability between equipment from different suppliers.

Banning Huawei poses a problem for carriers partly because many use its equipment in their existing 4G networks, making it hard to switch to rival suppliers for 5G.

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