The European Commission (EC) told member states to swiftly make progress on preventing dependency on high risk vendors in 5G networks, starting with a thorough investigation into each operator’s supply chain.
In a report into the headway made by member states towards a set of measures related to 5G security outlined by the EC in January, it noted “progress is urgently needed to mitigate the risk of dependency on high risk suppliers” with a view to reduce exposure at the European Union level.
“Challenges have been identified in designing and imposing appropriate multi-vendor strategies for individual MNOs or at national level due to technical or operational difficulties,” citing interoperability issues in some markets and problems related to geography.
The EC also called on the 13 member states which were yet to introduce mandated foreign direct investment screening mechanisms to do so, with a focus on those related to the 5G value chain.
Though work was needed across those specific areas, it noted other elements of the EU 5G toolbox were progressing well at a national level. These include national authorities ensuring they able to regulate 5G security and the introduction of measures designed to restrict the involvement of vendors based on their risk profiles.
EC EVP for Europe Fit for the Digital Age and Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager (pictured) said: “The timely rollout of 5G networks is strategically important for all Member States as it can open new opportunities for businesses, transform our critical sectors and benefit European citizens. Our common priority and responsibility is to ensure that these networks are secure and, while this report shows we have undergone great strides, a lot of work remains ahead.”
The report comes less than two weeks after the UK banned operators from using Huawei equipment in 5G networks and as the US continues a campaign to encourage other nations to follow suit.