In a statement published yesterday 18 December) the Czech National Cyber and Information Security Agency (NCISA) warned the country’s mobile network operators (MNOs) not to use telecom equipment supplied by Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE, saying they posed a potential security threat to the Republic. NCISA director Dusan Navratil warned that ‘introducing them into the key state systems might present a threat’ and added that all systems administrators working critical information infrastructure, private and public, would be advised to take ‘adequate measures’ to insulate themselves from any threat. The security agency noted that its warning notice was based on its findings and on those of allies, Reuters reported.
For its part, Huawei has stridently denied the allegations. ‘We categorically deny any suggestion that we pose a threat to national security. We call for NCISA to provide evidence instead of tarnishing Huawei’s reputation without any proof,’ a Huawei spokesman said. With an auction of 5G-suitable frequencies expected to take place in 2019, industry watchers note that Petr Kellner’s PPF Group, which controls national infrastructure provider Ceska telekomunikacni infrastruktura (Czech Telecommunications Infrastructure, or CETIN), has in place a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Huawei to cooperate on 5G research and development.