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During the visit of the Vice President of the United States Michael Pence to Poland, the “Joint Declaration of Poland and the United States of America on 5G” was signed. The Declaration is of key importance for national security. Poland and the United States of America have declared to intensify their cooperation in this regard.
5G: Poland and the United States of America strengthen cooperation
On September 2, 2019, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Vice President of the United States of America Michael Pence signed the ” Joint Declaration of Poland and the United States of America on 5G”. The Declaration aims to strengthen the cooperation between Poland and the United States of America in the construction, development and protection of the fifth generation mobile network, which is of fundamental importance for national security in the near future.
In the signed declaration, Poland and the United States of America support the Prague Proposals (formulated in the spring of this year), the Chair’s statement from the Prague 5G Security Conference, which emphasizes the need to create a 5G network based on free and fair competition, transparency and the rule of law.
No place for Chinese suppliers in the development of the 5G ecosystem?
The declaration states that the construction of secure 5G networks in both countries should be carried out with the participation of trusted and reliable infrastructure suppliers only, which will protect them from unauthorized access or interference. The document does not mention the names of specific companies, but it is supposedly about the alleged exclusion of Chinese entities from the supply chain of the 5G network, including Huawei. The American administration is particularly opposed to their participation in the development of a safe 5G ecosystem.
At the same time, as Deputy Minister for Digitization Karol Okoński stated, the signed declaration does not exclude any of the telecommunications infrastructure providers from the tender for 5G networks in the country. What is important, however, is the list of requirements (according to the Prague Proposals), through the prism of which Poland wants to make a reliable selection of suppliers of fifth generation networks. According to the available information, each of the leading suppliers – Huawei, Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung – is currently prepared to compete in tenders for the construction of a 5G network. According to Deputy Minister Karol Okoński, the first draft version of the regulation introducing Polish requirements for the 5G network should be prepared by the end of September.
Building a 5G network without Huawei is a big question mark
Based on Huawei’s infrastructure, Orange, T-Mobile and P4 are developing their 4G radio networks, while Ericsson is also an equivalent provider of solutions in the case of the first two telecoms operators. The P4 mobile network is supported primarily by Huawei, but in 2018 the operator also established cooperation with Ericsson. In turn, the 4G network of the CPS Group was built mainly by Ericsson and Nokia.
In this context, a question arises as to the business profitability of excluding Huawei from building 5G networks in Poland on the part of mobile operators. The 4G network ecosystem in Poland is mostly based on the solutions of a Chinese supplier, which is to provide the basis for the construction of a 5G network at the first stage of its implementation. Excluding Huawei from the supply chain would therefore have to involve the replacement of the older generation infrastructure with a new network backbone due to the lack of full interoperability between telecommunications infrastructure providers’ solutions.
On the other hand, Huawei’s position is weakening in the next, more advanced phases of 5G network implementations, mainly in favour of the Swedish Ericsson. Recently, the company has decided to start production of 5G devices in Poland, which we have written about here.