Mobile networks calls for 5G security test

Europe is on the cusp of the next industrial revolution: the 5G era.

The mobile network industry has called for a new European security testing scheme to check the safety of 5G equipment before it is deployed without having to resort to the disruptive step of excluding vendors from the market.

GSMA initiative, which represents 800 operators worldwide, follows as the US steps up pressure on its allies to ban China’s Huawei Technologies and ZTE on national security grounds.

Several countries have stopped individual companies supplying equipment for their next-generation networks, citing security concerns.

The GSMA said a testing scheme would reduce the need to ban suppliers.

5G will transform the way that European citizens live and work. 5G – working together with and built as an add on to, existing 4G networks – will connect people and things faster than ever before. It will drive efficiency, productivity and help us all use finite resources more effectively, particularly for industrial applications. In addition to the huge benefits for business and the economy, it will offer important breakthroughs in the provision of health care, skills and education.

As with 4G, robust competition amongst network infrastructure suppliers is essential to European operators’ ability to deliver innovative services to European citizens and businesses at competitive and affordable prices. By 2025, mobile operators are expected to invest between €300 billion and €500 billion on the rollout of 5G across Europe, and as an industry will generate over 4 per cent of GDP.

Operators warn that such a step would disrupt the supply of equipment, increase costs to them and their customers, delay the rollout of next-generation 5G services by years, and potentially hobble existing networks.

To safeguard this investment, retain competitiveness and data affordability, as well as maintain consumer trust, mobile operators have always prioritised network integrity, will never compromise on security and already have a proven track record of deploying secure 4G networks. 5G is, in essence, an evolution of the 4G standard, with enhanced features in terms of latency, speed and security.

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