Ratas, Pence issue statement on joint 5G approach

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in Washington.
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in Washington. Source: Mike Pence/Twitter

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) issued a statement together with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Estonia and the U.S.' joint approach to network security for 5G, the fifth generation cellular network technology, which in essence will block out China's Huawei.

The agreement does not explicitly name any manufacturers."We affirm that we will approach the development of 5G networks based on shared principles," Ratas said according to a government press release. "The credibility of new technologies is a top priority to Estonia as a digital state, and the U.S. is our most important ally in the security field. The statement issued together with the U.S. will send a strong signal that when it comes to the development of 5G networks, Estonia shares a similar understanding of security with its allies."

The U.S. has called on the EU to exercise more caution in the use of Huawei technology, particularly in the development of 5G networks. Allegedly, Huawei devices may give Chinese intelligence access to networks using its technology.

According to the Estonian government, the statement signed by Ratas and Pence is in accordance with international principles for the secure development of 5G networks agreed upon at the Prague 5G Security Conference this spring. The two countries will accordingly take political, technological, legal and economic aspects and risk factors into account when developing 5G networks.

The U.S: has previously signed a similar document with Poland. Several other European countries, however, such as Germany, allow Huawei technology.

Huawei, the third-largest producer of 5G network equipment after Ericsson and Nokia, has affirmed that their equipment is safe for countries to use.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications is currently drafting a regulation according to which all telecommunications operators have to coordinate network technology with the state.

"We are implementing a procedure via which we can review the reliability of technology manufacturers," National Cyber Security Policy Director Raul Rikk said. "This doesn't specifically affect only Huawei, but rather all technology manufacturers, and then we'll have to see on a case-by-case basis whether any technology constitutes a risk to Estonian security or not."


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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