Huawei sues Portugal over 5G ban

Chinese tech giant Huawei has filed a lawsuit against a ban on its equipment being used in Portugal’s 5G networks.

Lisbon’s cybersecurity council issued the resolution back in May; it doesn’t name Huawei directly, but prevents the use of 5G equipment from firms based outside the European Union, NATO, and the OECD.

A dozen or so other countries have already imposed their own limits on Huawei.

Why’s everyone so worried? Governments have been reluctant to share evidence (itself sometimes obtained via hacking), but Huawei has allegedly:

And notwithstanding Huawei’s denials (plus its claims that the bans are simply protectionism by another name), Western governments worry that Beijing can force Huawei to support China’s intel agencies regardless.

Despite all this, Huawei (with its low prices) is still leading the global 4/5G rollout:

  • It’s built 70% of Africa’s 4G infrastructure
  • More than half the 5G kit in eight EU countries is China-built, and
  • Huawei holds 20% of the global telco equipment market more broadly.

Intrigue’s take: The way tech is evolving, it’s often hard to prove (publicly, at least) that specific actors are exploiting specific vulnerabilities to get specific data for specific purposes. So trust is key. And that broke down years ago.

Also worth noting:

  • Portugal’s main telco operators already announced in 2020 that they wouldn’t use Huawei kit in their core 5G networks.
  • Huawei just launched a new 5G phone, prompting speculation about China’s ability to source advanced chips despite US sanctions.
  • Huawei is suing Sweden under the country’s bilateral investment treaty with China.
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