BERLIN (dpa-AFX) - According to government circles, the traffic light government has reached an agreement on how to deal with components from Chinese manufacturers such as Huawei and ZTE for the future German mobile network. "There has been a decision on how to proceed," Deutsche Presse-Agentur was told in Berlin on Thursday. "The German government is acting on the basis of the National Security Strategy and the China Strategy in order to reduce potential security risks and dependencies." No details were given. At the same time, however, the Federal Ministry of the Interior's review of critical components in 5G mobile networks will continue and be completed "shortly".

According to a report in the Handelsblatt newspaper, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and several ministers wanted to discuss the issue this Thursday. Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD), Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP), Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Economics Minister Robert Habeck (both Greens) were also present. The background to the discussion is security concerns.

Mobile phone providers consider legal action

Meanwhile, German mobile network providers are considering legal action in the event of a possible 5G network upgrade. A company spokesperson told dpa on Thursday that Telefónica would "examine claims for damages against the Federal Republic of Germany" for a retroactive conversion of the network. There is also the possibility of having a potential decision to prohibit components or suppliers reviewed in court. Deutsche Telekom also confirmed that it would "examine claims for compensation in the interests of our shareholders" in the event of a ban on technology from Chinese manufacturers. The Magenta Group had already announced this several times in recent months.

In September, the Ministry of the Interior had already committed to radically forcing Huawei and ZTE out of the network with bans. The three mobile network providers Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefónica Deutschland (O2) were to rid their core networks of critical components of Chinese origin by the end of 2025. By 2026, the major metropolitan areas - above all the capital Berlin - should be free of Chinese components in the access network if possible.

However, there were concerns in the department of Digital Minister Wissing. They argued that there were already strict regulations in place. A spokesperson emphasized on Thursday: "We firmly reject the claim that the Federal Ministry for Digital Affairs and Transport is blocking a decision on security issues in the expansion of the mobile network."

Greens: Remove installed components quickly

In a joint statement, the two Green Party interior politicians Konstantin von Notz and Misbah Khan warned against the use of the technology. The less technology from authoritarian states is installed in German telecommunications networks, the better. "And the faster we remove installed technology, the more secure it will be," they explained. "Far too much dependence on individual providers must be reduced as quickly as possible."

Digital politicians from the SPD and FDP were open to giving network operators a significantly longer period of time to dismantle the technology. "An expansion of the Huawei components in the 5G network by 2029 is a good and necessary step," said Maximilian Funke-Kaiser, digital policy spokesperson for the FDP parliamentary group in the Bundestag, in an interview with Handelsblatt. SPD digital expert Jens Zimmermann explained that it is important that the 5G process can now be completed with "legal certainty" and possible further delays due to legal proceedings can be prevented. "I therefore consider the deadline to be reasonable and responsible if the network operators finally take the signals from politicians that have been ignored so far seriously and make their networks more secure - if possible before the deadline expires - and finally distance themselves from problematic dependencies," he told the newspaper.

Representatives of the Greens and CDU, on the other hand, expressed their unease. "A lot can happen between now and 2029. To prioritize economic policy considerations over security policy considerations in this way carries an enormous risk. It must be crystal clear who bears the political responsibility in the event of damage," explained von Notz and Khan. CDU MP Roderich Kiesewetter told Handelsblatt: "I consider an extension period until 2029 to be dangerous because it deliberately ignores the threat posed by Chinese components, which are already endangering our economy and security authorities, or allows them to persist for longer."/hrz/DP/ngu