EVERY GERMAN knows the torments of Funklöcher, the patchwork of telephonic dead spots unmolested by radio signals, where smartphones fall silent and internet connections evaporate. Stuck for years in the slow lane of the rich world’s telecoms, Germany is determined not to be left behind as fifth-generation (5G) networks gear up to connect factories, cars and devices. But the government’s plans have hit an unexpected roadblock.
Like other rich countries, Germany has been agonising over whether to let Huawei, a Chinese telecoms giant, bid for contracts to build its 5G networks. Huawei offers experience, expertise and value; its kit makes up 70% of Germany’s 4G network. But securocrats worry that Chinese spooks may exploit “back doors” or other vulnerabilities supposedly built in to Huawei