The mobile internet has made 3G networks possible, 4G networks video telephony and mobile streaming. 5G is the ultimate promise for the future: doctors who control OR robots remotely; Cars that read their surroundings in microseconds. No question, this infrastructure must be secure and stable.
The political dispute has narrowed down to one simple question: Should the Chinese company Huawei be excluded from the expansion of 5G networks in Germany?
This Wednesday the EU Commission wants to present a tool kit in Brussels.
This includes: Suggestions how the expansion of the new 5G mobile network can be carried out safely and quickly in Europe. It has already been leaked that a Huawei ban should not be among the recommendations, but probably also not a blanket permission clause for China technology.
Nobody seriously believed that the wait for it anyway a European statement solves the domestic German debate. The fronts are clear: the federal government around Angela Merkel, Peter Altmaier and Horst Seehofer is against a blanket ban on Huawei.
Extended arm of the KP?
On the other hand, there is a growing number of foreign and security politicians from all parties. For them, Huawei is the extended arm of the Communist Party – a Trojan horse with which data can be tapped and sabotaged. In the Union, Norbert Röttgen is now said to have gathered more than 50 MPs around him, Greens and FDP as well as parts of the SPD sympathize with a Huawei exclusion.
What Huawei's opponents overlook: A ban does not solve the security or stability problem of 5G networks. Mobile networks are not insecure through the use of Huawei technology, they are per se.
This is wanted: German investigators benefit from unencrypted data and back doors in the mobile network. As a reminder: It is not China who has been caught systematically stealing data in German networks, but the alliance partner USA. Not Chinese equipment was used for this, but gaps in the hardware of the US manufacturer Cisco.
Additional costs in the double-digit billions
Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and O2 for years on Huawei technology. A waiver would cause additional costs of 55 billion euros in Europe, the industry says. German operators would have to replace about half of their existing networks. Car manufacturers also fear a Chinese revenge foul if Huawei is excluded in Germany.
How much can a zero tolerance policy cost? And why only with the infrastructure? Anyone who believes that Chinese hardware compromises a system would have to do without virtually every mobile phone and computer.
Stable mobile radio networks also rely on a mix of different manufacturers – less choice means less reliability , The concern that the Chinese government could paralyze large parts of the network in future with Huawei's participation in Germany at the push of a button is unfounded.
Regular updates are crucial
It is like any computer with software: Good maintenance and regular updates are crucial. The network operators are responsible for this. They watch over all components, and here the hard requirements of the legislature are wise: no technology monocultures, redundant systems, good security management.
The Federal Government already wrote all of these points in the draft security catalog in October – and that's a good thing. The Chinese state is dangerous. It would be unpardonable if dissidents were persecuted and imprisoned there because German networks are not secure. Therefore, Chinese hardware must not be integrated without hesitation.
The British showed yesterday where the path is going: regulation with strict requirements, but without the exclusion of Huawei. Other countries in Europe are still waiting for the German decision. One more reason not to use the topic as a back door for mood creation or profile sharpening for the time after Angela Merkel.