Ireland set for telecoms equipment ban

Ireland set for telecoms equipment ban

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

The Irish government is to introduce legislation to ban the supply of equipment for mobile networks from companies that pose a threat to national security.

This follows the EU security ‘tool box’ in January 2020 that highlights security risks and would have implications for Huawei of China as a supplier. The US, UK and Australia have already excluded Huawei specifically from supplying equipment critical parts of 5G and broadband networks. The UK recently pushed out deadlines for the removal of equipment.

The Irish Department of Environment, Climate and Communications has introduced an amendment to its Communications Regulation Bill 2022 which will give a minister the powers to designate parts of the communications network as being “critical or sensitive”.

“Under this legislation, which is being added as an amendment to the Communications Regulation Bill, the risk profile of vendors will be assessed using objective criteria. Any exclusions or restrictions will be based on clear legislation and a thorough risk assessment, in cases where there is a threat to national security,” said the ministry. 

Eir, one of Ireland’s top three mobile phone providers, uses Huawei technology in its 5G services, but says it does not use it in the core network, which is more sensitive. Three Ireland and Vodafone use equipment from Ericsson. Huawei has been operating in the Irish market since May 2004 and says it has worked with all the major telecom providers in Ireland.

This comes just a week after Huawei announced a €150m investment and the creation of up to 200 new jobs in Dublin with its first European cloud hub. The country was seen as sympathetic to the company and has a strong relationship with the Trade ministry and Industrial Development Agency (IDA).

“This significant €150 million investment by Huawei with the creation of 200 jobs over five years is really welcome and demonstrates the company’s ongoing commitment to Ireland,” said Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar (above, left).

“It’s also an endorsement of Ireland as an enterprise-friendly environment where companies like Huawei can grow and prosper. Huawei is expanding its portfolio of services in Ireland with this investment, which will substantially enhance our thriving technology ecosystem. I wish Huawei continued success in developing its presence here,” he said.

“We see Ireland as a strategically important location for the global deployment of Huawei Cloud. The new offering will be based on stable, reliable, secure, compliant, innovative, and sustainable cloud services customised to meet the needs of various Irish and European customers, but particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs),” said Tony Yangxu, CEO of Huawei Ireland (above, right).

Huawei also has four R&D centres with two in Dublin and two others Cork and Athlone, employing hundreds of researchers.;

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