BERLIN (dpa-AFX) - German mobile network providers are considering a lawsuit in the event of a possible 5G network upgrade. Telefónica would "examine claims for damages against the Federal Republic of Germany" for a retroactively necessary conversion of the network, a spokesperson for the company told the German Press Agency on Thursday. 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 has already announced this several times in recent months.

According to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, the use of Chinese components in future German cell phone networks is still being examined. "The overall status is that the review of the critical 5G components is still ongoing," a spokesperson told dpa in Berlin. It remained unclear whether the ongoing review means that the political talks will also continue. "Any discussions within the federal government are confidential, so we cannot confirm any talks," said the spokesperson for the Federal Ministry of the Interior. Meanwhile, mobile phone providers are already positioning themselves for possible legal action.

Traffic light wants quick solution according to Handelsblatt

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. According to the report, the German government is considering a solution in the near future, possibly before the parliamentary summer break, which begins at the start of July. It will also involve products from the Chinese company ZTE.

The Ministry of the Interior had already decided in September to radically force 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