The global organization representing the interests of mobile network operators, GSMA, has called for European governments to “safeguard network security and competition” in the telecommunications infrastructure industry. The association has issued a warning to Europe to refrain from activities that would obstruct the use of certain equipment necessary for 5G mobile network development.
According to the GSMA, “Actions that disrupt the equipment supply for the various segments of the network (access, transport and core) will increase costs to European operators, businesses and citizens; delay 5G deployment by years across Europe and potentially also jeopardise the functioning of existing 4G networks upon which 5G is intended to be built.”
Although no specific company names are mentioned in the statement, the GSMA initiative highlights the industry’s significant endeavor to prevent the application of additional sanctions, similar to those announced by the United States and Australian governments on Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE. Currently, Huawei, the world’s largest supplier of telecoms network equipment with a market share of 28%, is under mounting pressure from different countries amid claims of espionage, which have been denied by the Chinese provider.
The GSMA indicated that Europe needs a security programme to manage the roll-out of 5G networks and overcome the mistrust of providers. The wireless industry group is assembling a task force of European operators to determine ways on how to improve the already existing security programs implemented by individual operators, recognised third-party laboratories and 3GPP, the international 5G-standardisation body.
“As European policymakers consider ways to further secure network infrastructure, we urge them not to lose focus on all relevant policy objectives — security, competition, innovation and consumer impact,” the GSMA noted. “This requires a fact-based and risk-based approach.”
The association, uniting more than 750 operators with over 350 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, estimates that mobile operators will invest between $300 billion and $500 billion in the rollout of 5G services in Europe by 2025.