Chinese kit vendor Huawei was forced to make a special application for its equipment to be allowed in Romanian 5G networks following the introduction of a 2021 law.

Scott Bicheno

March 4, 2024

2 Min Read

The decision on that appeal was published in the Romanian government gazette late last week, which amounted to an outright rejection. It’s written in Romanian legalese and there was no accompanying press release that we could find, but as far as we can tell that officially marks the end of any possible involvement by Huawei in the Romanian mobile network market and, as Light Reading notes, puts additional pressure on operators to rip-and-replace any Huawei kit they still use.

We understand they have five years since the publication of the law to remove Huawei from the core, and two more years to clean out the RAN. The law was officially signed-off on 11 June 2021, so we’re almost three years into those deadlines already. Presumably no operators would have been reckless enough to have even bought, let alone installed fresh Huawei 5G kit since then but you never know.

Unsurprisingly, Huawei and the Chinese state are unimpressed with the decision. “We are disappointed with the government's decision, which is not rooted in any objective assessment or actual findings,” said a Huawei Romania spokesperson. “Huawei has operated in Romania for over 20 years without any security issues and fully complied with all national rules and regulations.

“This decision will harm our business operations in the country, and as well have a far-reaching negative impact on the ecosystem of local ICT industry and business operations of our partners… Huawei Romania, with 1,300 local employees, will continue to serve the society through secure and trustworthy solutions, developing ICT talent and promoting employment… Huawei Romania reserves its legal rights to appeal this decision.”

Global Times can generally be relied upon to pass on the official Chinese government line and they published a story yesterday headlined ‘Chinese Embassy deplores Romania's rejection of Huawei's 5G equipment authorization’. The story includes the standard objections on the grounds of legal due process, which remain valid in the absence of hard evidence that Chinese kit presents a security threat, beyond a general geopolitical distrust of the country itself.

It also remains intriguing that other Chinese tech companies don’t seem to be subject to the same levels of mistrust. Economedia.ro reports that Romania approved Lenovo kit for use in the country last year. Nonetheless, this decision comes as no surprise given that the law, while making no direct reference to Huawei or even China, was clearly designed with Huawei primarily in mind. It was thus in keeping with moves made by most of the rest of the US sphere of influence.

About the Author(s)

Scott Bicheno

As the Editorial Director of Telecoms.com, Scott oversees all editorial activity on the site and also manages the Telecoms.com Intelligence arm, which focuses on analysis and bespoke content.
Scott has been covering the mobile phone and broader technology industries for over ten years. Prior to Telecoms.com Scott was the primary smartphone specialist at industry analyst Strategy Analytics’. Before that Scott was a technology journalist, covering the PC and telecoms sectors from a business perspective.
Follow him @scottbicheno

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