German Government Plans Further Restrictions on Chinese Telecom Equipment

The German government is currently working on a new plan that would impose additional restrictions on the use of Chinese equipment in the country’s telecom networks, according to a strategy paper seen by POLITICO. The document acknowledges the significant structural dependencies on Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE.

One proposal being considered is the requirement for telecom operators to stop using Chinese equipment in the core part of their networks by January 1, 2026. Additionally, there may be a phased elimination of Chinese kit in the wider radio access network (RAN) within three years. It has also been suggested that Chinese equipment be limited to a maximum of 25 percent in the RAN, with a complete ban enforced in sensitive geographical areas.

State secretaries from the interior, transport, and digital affairs ministries have recently met to discuss the details of these plans. However, the ministry of digital affairs has expressed concerns that a ban on Chinese equipment could result in increased reliance on Huawei’s main competitors, such as Ericsson and Nokia.

Germany’s reliance on Chinese telecoms giant Huawei has been a contentious issue with both the European Union and the United States. The EU has been pushing member countries to impose restrictions on Chinese equipment since 2020, and the U.S. has actively encouraged governments to remove Huawei from 5G networks. Germany’s telecom networks still heavily rely on China, and the government aims to address this reliance due to security concerns.

Telecom operators have raised concerns about the potential impact of these new restrictions on mobile coverage and expansion. However, Deutsche Telekom spokesperson Stephan Broszio has stated that the company has already begun removing Huawei from its core network and has adopted a multivendor strategy for technology purchases.

As the plans are still under discussion, if approved, they could further escalate trade tensions between the EU and China.