Norway mulls exclusion of Huawei from 5G network

January 10, 2019 09:36
Huawei could face hurdle in another overseas market as Washington urges Western nations to exclude the Chinese firm's equipment from 5G networks. Photo: Reuters

Norway is considering whether to join other western nations in excluding China’s Huawei Technologies from building part of the Nordic country’s new 5G telecoms infrastructure.

“We share the same concerns as the United States and Britain and that is espionage on private and state actors in Norway,” Norway's Justice Minister Tor Mikkel Wara told Reuters on Wednesday. 

“This question is high priority ... we want to have this in place before we build the next round of the telecom network,” the minister was quoted as saying on the sidelines of a business conference in Oslo.

Asked whether there could be actions taken against Huawei specifically, Wara said: “Yes, we are considering the steps taken in other countries, that is part of it - the steps taken in the United States and Britain.”

The comments came as the Norwegian government is currently discussing measures to reduce potential vulnerabilities in its telecoms industry ahead of 5G network upgrade.

Huawei, meanwhile, stressed that its equipment is secure.

“Our customers in Norway have strong security requirements of us and they manage the risk in their operations in a good way,” said Tore Orderloekken, Cyber Security Officer at Huawei Norway.

“We will continue to be open and transparent and offer extended testing and verification of our equipment to prove that we can deliver secure products in the 5G network in Norway,” he told Reuters.

Norwegian state-controlled operator Telenor signed its first major contract with Huawei in 2009. 

Telenor and competitor Telia currently use 4G Huawei equipment in Norway and are testing equipment from the Chinese company in their experimental 5G networks.

In August, US President Donald Trump signed a bill that barred the American government from using Huawei equipment, and he is now said to be mulling an executive order that would also bar US companies from doing so.

Washington is also calling on its allies not to use Huawei equipment when building 5G networks.

Telenor said it is taking security seriously.

“Norway has had full control over critical infrastructure for many, many years and we in Telenor take it very seriously,” Telenor CEO Sigve Brekke told Reuters.

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