U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard A. Grenell has informed German Economic Minister Peter Altmaier that the U.S will withhold intel from the country if it does not ban Huawei products, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. The development is the latest in a tense dispute between the U.S. and Huawei over the security of Huawei 5G equipment.
U.S. officials have argued that if the Chinese government ever requested backdoor access to telecom equipment, Huawei would have to comply. Huawei has denied any wrongdoing and filed suit against the U.S. last week.
German wireless providers are in the midst of upgrading their networks for 5G. The country’s top three carriers, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica Deutschland, have all held 5G trials with Huawei.
As FierceWireless reported earlier this week, Germany’s telecom regulator BNetzA announced it would not ban Huawei products from 5G build-outs, despite pressure from the U.S. Instead, BNetzA tightened up security rules regarding which vendors wireless operators can use for network upgrades.
The WSJ, citing an unnamed state department source, reported that the State Department will refuse to share intel with Germany out of concern that the intel would end up in China’s hands if wireless providers install equipment from any Chinese-based vendor, including Huawei. However, the U.S. does not plan to cut Germany out of its intel sharing network completely. The report notes that European agencies have relied heavily on U.S. intelligence to fight terrorism.