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Romania goes ahead with Huawei 5G ban

Despite the best efforts of Huawei’s lawyers, Romania is the latest country to bar Chinese vendors from its 5G networks.

Romania and Poland were persuaded to join team America when it came to excluding Chinese vendors from its 5G networks because they might help the Chinese state with espionage, or something. On top of being a diplomatic win for the US, it also represented yet example of the European Union failing to act collectively.

Huawei’s lawyers were alert to this awkward situation and attempted to challenge the Romanian and Polish moves on the grounds that they contravened some EU regulation or other. That was five months ago and it seems that either the EU has failed to act with its usually desperate urgency or Romania decided to ignore it.

Reuters reports a member of the Romania government confirmed to it that the law is going ahead. “The government just approved this bill of paramount importance for Romania, sealing a 2019 memorandum signed in Washington, meaning that China and Huawei are ruled out from any would-be partnership on 5G with the Romanian state,” Pavel Popescu told Reuters.

To the best of our knowledge the Romanian mobile market consists of private companies, much like the rest of Europe, so it’s not clear what this ‘partnership with the state’ talk signifies. Perhaps something was lost in translation, because all the signs are that this prohibits Orange, Vodafone, etc from using Huawei or ZTE kit in their Romanian 5G networks. We wouldn’t be surprised to see a similar announcement from Poland soon.

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12 comments

  1. Avatar Pragmatic 15/04/2021 @ 9:33 pm

    Teaming up with speculative narration and „friendly” attitude did not help anyone in 1939 why it should help today. Smart approach would be to stick to own country interest with multivector foreign politic approach instead singing up for one side or another. Learn from own historical mistakes and the others, improve and avoid mistakes taken. Followers does not create, they just follow and follow, stronger and stronger relying on their idols and loosing their own state of mind. Ask Ukraine if any help was given by its allies when Russia took over Crimea.

    • Avatar Graeme Bellis 19/04/2021 @ 12:43 pm

      No idea what the incoherent response from Pragmatic is saying. Though I think Pragmatic seems to be a Huawei proponent?? Yes??

  2. Avatar Martin spkay 15/04/2021 @ 11:32 pm

    ‘or something’

    Would be nice to have more effort from the writer … Unless he’s an unmotivated romanian much like the article is bashing

    • Scott Bicheno Scott Bicheno 16/04/2021 @ 8:45 am

      It would, wouldn’t it?

      • Avatar Andrew 17/04/2021 @ 5:52 pm

        Good answer

    • Avatar Daniel 16/04/2021 @ 11:53 am

      I think the way it was formulated in the article is reflecting the reality very well: there is no technically clear and specific reason for banning a manufacturer, except for political ones. And followers do exactly what they know best, which is to mindlessly follow.

      • Avatar Adi 18/04/2021 @ 6:48 am

        I’m on the same page with Daniel (I’m Romanian, btw).
        It’s just a bandwagon move. And our government is too stupid to understand or know the underlying technical aspects of this situation.
        2 of the biggest players have already address the government in a flashier way – the other 2 have a sell/buy active situation and are acting like little doggos now.
        The article is on point!

  3. Avatar Katherine Healy 16/04/2021 @ 5:14 am

    Huawei has exclusive use of the 5G bandwidth splitting software patent, and the 5G AI Spectrum software patent.

    Huawei mobile broadband chip (exclusive use of the patent and manufactured by Huawei) is present in every 4G and 5G device worldwide.

    ALL mobile broadband uses the mobile broadband chip, exclusively manufactured by Huawei (2G-5G).

    People pretending that they can use 4G and 5G without the patent owners/holders are delusional.

  4. Avatar George 16/04/2021 @ 1:16 pm

    Just sad, instead of following like sheeps I think a country, or some countries would join together, and reverse engineer Huawei 5G tech so they can test every single thing out of them and see if they are secure or not and then take a decision based on that. Or I don’t know, something, to be regulated by an independent party. Because I haven’t heard anyone actually discovering anything wrong with their products. And yes, their tech is in 3G and 4G already worldwide for many many years, I remember Romanian telecom were selling home internet services with mobile routers from Huawei and ZTE like 8 years ago

    • Avatar Jackson 17/04/2021 @ 8:20 am

      They all like “Ducks” following the each other on the field or in the river LOL

  5. Avatar Denigor777 16/04/2021 @ 3:35 pm

    It’s not just about hardware and software security. It’s about relying on ongoing software updates, multiple per year, for the gear. And having to check the code for that, every time? If theres a patch released to fix an emergency bug who will fully check all the code in that patch, fast, whilst the customer network is having the outage?

    It’s also about support. When a serious problem is found the Vendor engineers can need to access the live network equipment to get traces/debug.

    Also, being Chinese vendors, China government could tell them “We are not happy with Romania. Stop providing any new hardware and software to Romania telcos”. Low chance, but still possible if Chinese vendors are obliged to follow what their state says.

    Also, the US could choose to stop selling equipment supporting hi-tech manufacturing to China. Romania might worry that getting spare parts in future is risky. Or the US coukd choose not to share security information (intelligence) with Nato countries who depend on systems the US considers a risk.

    There’s much more to security than just hardware and software. And, for sure, this is a vety political decision, rather than purely security driven, too.

  6. Avatar Aug 16/04/2021 @ 4:31 pm

    Who cares? Let Romania make its own decision. To say they just made the decision like a sheep is one sided. What if they allowed Huawei? Would that not be considered following China like a sheep?

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