Trump calls for greater 5G security cooperation

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US President Donald Trump has urged nations to work together on helping secure the future of 5G.

Reuters reports Trump made the comment in a letter to the 2019 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-19), a quadrennial congress of regulators and governments organised by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), noting that the country plans to work with “like-minded nations” on 5G security.

Earlier this year, Trump effectively blacklisted Huawei on national security grounds, preventing the company from participating in the rollout of 5G networks in the US. Huawei denies any allegations of wrongdoing and the US has yet to provide any evidence to support its claims, but Washington is urging its allies to follow its lead.

Huawei US 5G

However such attempts have been largely unsuccessful, with Norway and Germany among the latest to confirm Huawei will not be barred from their 5G deployments, while recent reports suggest the UK will also allow the company’s radio equipment to be used by mobile operators.

The US has not been discouraged and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plans to formally designate Huawei and ZTE as security risks. This would prevent any recipients of federal funds from using equipment from either vendor.

“When it comes to 5G and America’s security, we can’t afford to take a risk and hope for the best,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

“As the United States upgrades its networks to the next generation of wireless technologies - 5G - we cannot ignore the risk that the Chinese government will seek to exploit network vulnerabilities in order to engage in espionage, insert malware and viruses, and otherwise compromise our critical communications networks.”

Although Huawei and ZTE have been effectively frozen out of the US market and prevented from supplying major carriers, a number of smaller operators are reliant on inexpensive kit from one or both companies.

The Rural Wireless Association, which represents operators with fewer than 100,000 customers, estimates a quarter of its members have Chinese-made kit in their networks The US has sought to change this by offering up to $1 billion to replace components with gear from the likes of Ericsson or Nokia.

Via Reuters

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.