The German government announced a security review into all critical components of the country's mobile phone networks provided by Chinese manufacturers Huawei and ZTE, according to media reports on Tuesday.
The Interior Ministry said in a letter that it considered it possible that the components could impair public order and security in Germany.
According to the letter, all security-relevant parts that were already installed in the network were to be examined.
German government has 'not yet' banned certain components, spokesperson says
A spokesperson for the Interior Ministry confirmed that the German government was carrying out a general review of telecoms tech suppliers.
No operators are banned yet from using certain components from Chinese companies in their 5G networks, the spokesperson said.
"The main change is that these strict checks for potential security risks now also apply to the existing components in telecommunications networks," the spokesperson said, adding that operators would not be compensated for parts that needed to be ripped out of the network and replaced.
China 'very puzzled' over reports on ban
The Chinese Embassy in Germany criticized the move, calling on Berlin to listen to "rational voices" in a statement published on Tuesday night.
Beijing is "very puzzled and strongly dissatisfied with the rash decision" If the reports of a potential ban be true, the embassy said.
The embassy added that such a move would be without "factual basis," and said the German government should listen to "rational voices."
Companies rule out any political speculation
Three of the German mobile phone network operators, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and O2, installed Huawei components into the so-called antenna network.
With the review, the German government is said to rule out the possibility of China gaining greater access to the mobile phone networks.
A Telekom spokesperson said they were "not involved in political speculation."
A Vodafone spokesperson made similar comments, stressing that they "always comply with the relevant standards and laws."
Telefonica, operator of O2, made similar comments. A company spokesperson indicated that sufficient time would be needed should a component need to be excluded from the network.
US claims Chinese 5G technology can be used for espionage
The US had long warned Germany against Huawei's involvement in the country's mobile network.
Several countries, including the US and Canada, have already excluded network technology from Huawei and ZTE from their markets.
The US has asserted China could use Huawei's 5G technology for espionage.
Huawei has rejected the accusations.
rs, los/ar (Reuters, dpa)
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