Bill regulating Huawei tech postponed until autumn session

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Telecommunications mast Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The adoption of a bill regulating the use of Chinese Huawei technology in Estonian network infrastructure will be postponed until the autumn, the government has decided

The Electronic Communications Act, which includes the regulation on the use of Huawei technology, was supposed to enter into law in May but was postponed after an amendment from the chancellor of justice was added.

The law bans the use of non-democratic equipment and software on the 5G network, in essence, technology made by Huawei.

The government planned to agree on the law and the new amendment on Thursday but EKRE's stalling tactics over the personal database systems establishment act (ABIS) and no-confidence vote in the prime minister reshuffled the agenda. The Riigikogu also breaks up for its summer recess on Thursday so the law will be pushed back until the autumn session begins.

Kalvi Kõva, the representative of the Riigikogu's Economic Affairs Committee, said the draft will probably return in the second week of September. It would only be agreed upon this session if an extraordinary session was held.

"Then there is a high probability that this item is on the agenda," Kõva said.

This delay will also push back the competition for 5G providers which is already long overdue.

A decision has not yet been made on how many frequency licenses will be put into the competition, network operators want to divide the frequency bands into four but it would technically be easier to divide them into three.

There is also a hold-up as Russia is still not ready to release the frequencies necessary for 5G distribution to Estonia.

Estonia would like to share the 3400-3800 MHz frequency band, part of which is used by Russia. Estonia also expects Russia to release a 700 MHz frequency band in the border areas, which Russia uses to transmit television images.

Ando Leppiman, secretary general of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, sent a letter to the European Commission on Monday announcing the postponement of the tender for the 700 MHz frequency band because Russia has not yet agreed to release the frequency.  

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Editor: Helen Wright

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