Telefonica plans to sell radio masts for 1.5 billion euros

Telefonica

Telefonica Germany already sold a good 2,000 transmission towers to Telxius in 2016.


(Photo: dpa)

Berlin The Spanish telecom giant Telefonica is conducting negotiations with telecommunications infrastructure company Telxius on the sale of radio masts from its German subsidiary Telefonica Deutschland, according to a media report. The Spanish newspaper “Expansion” reported on Friday that a sales sum of 1.5 billion euros was under discussion.

It is about up to 10,000 masts. Telxius is more than 50 percent owned by Telefonica, further shareholders are the financial investor KKR and the investment fund Pontegadea, which belongs to the textile billionaire Amancio Ortega. Telefonica and Telefonica Deutschland did not want to comment.

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Vodafone warns of attacks on 5G antennas in Germany

Attacks on 5G cell towers

A 5G transmitter was destroyed in an arson attack in Huddersfield in Northern England.

(Photo: AFP)

Dusseldorf The network operator Vodafone has warned of attacks on cell towers in Germany. Arson attacks have already taken place in several EU countries. Similar things could happen in Germany, said Vodafone Germany boss Hannes Ametsreiter on Wednesday.

“These activities can endanger life,” said Ametsreiter. In the UK, a cell tower near a hospital was destroyed, and emergency calls could not be made. That is a worrying development.

The background to the attacks are conspiracy theories that have linked the expansion of 5G mobile communications to the outbreak of the corona pandemic. Masts had been damaged or destroyed in Great Britain, the Netherlands and Cyprus.

Despite attempts by scientists and politicians to calm the population, concerns about similar events in Germany are increasing. Vodafone technical director Gerhard Mack said: “We must not fool ourselves.” The expansion of 5G mobile radio is still in the early stages in Germany. In the Federal Republic, “many thousands of new masts” would still have to be built to supply the population with 5G.

German industry in particular had been pushing for a 5G supply that was as extensive as possible. She hopes to be the basis for new products, better networking of production and the basis for applications such as autonomous driving.

Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom announced on Wednesday to significantly expand the expansion of 5G mobile radio in Germany. Telekom wants to supply half of the German population with 5G this year. That would correspond to about 40 million people. “We have big plans for 5G and will bring the latest mobile communications standard to large parts of Germany this year,” says Telekom Germany boss Dirk Wössner.

Vodafone also announced that it would make its 5G network available to around ten million people in Germany this year. In the beginning, Vodafone focused on the cities, said Ametsreiter. “Now we’re bringing 5G to the area.”

Important frequencies for 5G were auctioned in Germany last year. In addition to Telekom and Vodafone, Telefónica Deutschland and the newcomer also secured themselves for a total of 6.55 billion euros Drillish, behind which the group United Internet (Brands 1 & 1, GMX, Web.de) stands, frequencies. The nationwide expansion of mobile radio technology will take years.

More: This is how scientists assess the theories about the relationship between 5G and corona.

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Huawei expects a difficult year and threatens the US government

Huawei

Last year the group felt the effects of export restrictions.

(Photo: AFP)

Shenzhen For the world’s largest network supplier, Huawei, the current year could be the most difficult in its history due to the US sanctions. Eric Xu, Chairman of the Board of Directors, warned on Tuesday that further export restrictions could destroy global supply chains.

Huawei already felt the problems last year. The profit increase weakened significantly to 5.6 percent, which Huawei brought in the equivalent of almost 8.1 billion euros. It was the smallest plus in the past three years. Things were not going so smoothly, especially outside of China.

US-led Western intelligence agencies accuse Huawei of inappropriately connecting to the Beijing government. You suspect that the manufacturer’s equipment or cell phones could be used for espionage purposes. Evidence for this has not yet been presented, Huawei rejects the allegations.

Even so, the US government blacklisted the company and warned other countries against using Chinese equipment to build its 5G networks. In addition, the government in Washington also wants to take action against chip sales to Huawei.

“The Chinese government will not just watch and see how Huawei fillets are filleted on the kitchen board,” Xu warned. In return, China could also ban the use of 5G semiconductors or other products from US companies.

So far, Huawei has always stressed that it operates completely independently of the Chinese government. With the open threat to the United States, Xu now led reactions from Beijing.

The statements made by Huawei’s chairman are the latest high point in the dispute. Huawei had to launch its latest top devices outside of China without the Google Android operating system. Industry experts therefore fear a drop in sales. In Germany or other countries, consumers might not be willing to pay hundreds of euros for devices on which they cannot simply use popular services such as Google Maps or YouTube.

The Group’s sales climbed last year, primarily due to the flourishing smartphone business in Germany, by 19 percent to the equivalent of around 110 billion euros. According to market researcher Canalys, Huawei, as the industry leader, now has a market share of 39 percent in the People’s Republic. Huawei benefited from the fact that many Chinese wanted to buy smartphones from a domestic provider after the US blacklisted the company.

Huawei had actually announced that it would no longer use components from the United States for its products. When analyzing the new flagship smartphone P40, the Financial Times however, after components from US companies continued to be used.

More: Huawei builds first factory outside of China in France.

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Corona virus delays the establishment of the 5G network

United Internet boss Ralph Dommermuth

The entrepreneur’s network plans are delayed.

(Photo: Thies Rätzke for Handesblatt)

Dusseldorf Internet entrepreneur Ralph Dommermuth wanted to rise to the circle of network operators in Germany. He wanted Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and challenge Telefónica. The construction of the new infrastructure should actually start now. But the project is delayed. The planned schedule could no longer be met, said Dommermuth on Thursday at his company’s balance sheet press conference United Internet.

The outbreak of the corona pandemic complicates network expansion. Permits are needed for the laying of new fiber optic lines. But these are currently difficult to get. “Many building authorities have closed,” said Dommermuth. Dommermuth is also cautious when it comes to business development.

Although his company saw a sharp increase in telephone calls and data consumption in the fixed network, the company expects business to stagnate overall this year. The company behind brands such as GMX and Web.de had increased its sales by 1.8 percent to around 5.2 billion euros in the past financial year.

Adjusted earnings (Ebitda) rose 5.4 percent to just under EUR 1.27 billion. The MDax group plans to raise its dividend from five cents in the previous year to 50 cents. At the subsidiary 1 & 1 Drillisch, who is primarily responsible for the network expansion, announced Dommermuth, however, to keep the dividend at the prescribed minimum of five cents. “We want to keep our powder dry,” said Dommermuth.

However, the impact of the corona pandemic is just one of several challenges facing the company. United Internet wants to be able to use the existing networks in Germany at least in the meantime to set up its own infrastructure. His company had been talking to Telekom, Vodafone and Telefónica for months. But no agreement had yet been reached. “The three potential negotiating partners are in no particular hurry,” said Dommermuth.

Federal Network Agency could intervene

The conflict between the newcomer and the established providers was already emerging. The heads of Telekom, Vodafone and Telefónica had spoken out against building a new competitor right from the start. However, all four companies took part in the auction of the frequencies for the upcoming 5G mobile communications standard last year. United Internet alone had paid more than one billion euros for the use of the frequencies.

The Handelsblatt learned from corporate circles that the network operators Vodafone and Telefónica had already submitted contracts for the shared use of their infrastructure. However, the network operators could not agree on the financial details with United Internet or 1 & 1 Drillisch.

If the companies do not come together, the case could end up with the Federal Network Agency. The authority sets the framework for the telecommunications industry in Germany. It had decided against an obligation to share the infrastructure required by United Internet. Authorities president Jochen Homann had argued, however, that there was a “negotiation requirement” and a “prohibition of discrimination”.

If negotiations between the companies fail, the authority could check whether government intervention is necessary. However, it is unclear how long such a check would take.

More: The corona pandemic is a stress test for the data networks.

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Deutsche Telekom offers users free services

Telekom boss Timotheus Höttges

The Dax group increases the data volume for its customers.

(Photo: AP)

Dusseldorf Because of the corona virus pandemic, the Deutsche Telekom free offers to their customers. “Every mobile phone customer gets an additional ten gigabytes of data volume,” said CEO Timotheus Höttges in a video message. And every customer gets the Disney + streaming service for six months free of charge.

“We are now helping companies to make working from home even easier for their employees,” continued Höttges. Business customers receive the Office 365 and WebExConferencing services for a limited period of three months. Schools also receive conference services free of charge for three months.

A few days earlier, Telekom’s US subsidiary, T-Mobile US, in response to the coronavirus outbreak, provided its customers with unlimited data volumes and announced that it would turn a blind eye to unpaid bills.

Now the parent company for Germany has followed suit with its own range of offers. “Covid-19 challenges us. But I am encouraged that we are currently experiencing strong signs of solidarity, ”said Höttges. Telekom wants to make its contribution. “Our network is the lifeline of digital coexistence, which is so important right now.”

More: Telekom passes movement data on to the Robert Koch Institute.

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Huawei regains top position in patent statistics

Munich, Dusseldorf Initially, Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei appeared uncertain when he appeared at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January. The 75-year-old sat motionless on his chair with his hands folded. But when he spoke about the allegations of the US government that his technology company was helping the Chinese government with cyber espionage, he quickly picked up speed.

“The US will expand its attacks against us this year. But that won’t bother us much, ”he said. He invested his entire wealth in research and development of products for Huawei. This is part of Huawei’s central strategy and has helped the group even in difficult phases. The company is now well positioned to withstand further attacks by the USA.

Now it becomes clear why the Huawei founder in Davos was so self-confident. Because of the sanctions of the US government, which Huawei put on the black list, the Chinese were cut off by many suppliers. But the company invested heavily in its own development and research in order to become more independent of supply chains.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the European patent statistics published this Thursday. Huawei took back the top spot last year. The Chinese company registered 3,524 inventions with the European Patent Office (EPO).

With this, Huawei clearly demonstrated Samsung, which registered 2,858 patents. Siemens, still in first place in 2018, the number of registrations increased to 2619, but ended up as the best German company only in fifth place.

graphic

Huawei had first place in Europe for patent applications in 2017. This showed that Chinese companies are using technological innovations to penetrate the world markets more and more. This trend continued in the past year. The number of patent applications from China rose again by more than 29 percent. A large number of patents recently related to the topics of artificial intelligence and 5G.

Huawei is considered the leading provider of 5G equipment worldwide. The next mobile radio standard is particularly interesting for the industry, which wants to use it to network their production. Technology from Huawei is already in all three German mobile phone networks. Both the Deutsche Telekom as well as Vodafone and Telefónica Deutschland (brand O2) rely heavily on Huawei.

Increase in registration numbers

Siemens takes the slide down to fifth place athletically. “We were able to increase our patent applications again by five percent and are again by far the largest European patent applicant,” said Siemens patent chief Beat Weibel the Handelsblatt. This makes Siemens “one of the most innovative companies in digital technologies and artificial intelligence”. In addition, Siemens pays attention “less to quantity, but to quality and the broad regional positioning of our property rights”.

Nevertheless, Huawei has achieved a prestige success. The Chinese technology group has spent a large part of its sales on research and development for many years. In 2018, the volume was $ 15.3 billion, or 14 percent of sales.

In absolute terms, Huawei was one of the world’s leading companies in terms of development spending. Just stood in front of Huawei Amazon, the GoogleParent company alphabet and Samsung. Companies such as Microsoft, Volkswagen and Apple. There are still no final figures for 2019.

Overall, the EPO recorded a four percent increase in patent applications last year to 181,400 inventions for the first time. The growth was particularly strong with an increase of almost 20 percent in the area of ​​digital communication. This rapid growth is “the outstanding trend,” said EPO President António Campinos. “The rapid increase clearly reflects the digital transformation of the economy.”

Patent applications by German companies stagnated at 26,805 last year. Siemens has been one of the most active patent applicants for many years. The automotive supplier Robert Bosch, however, recorded an increase of 16 percent and worked its way to tenth place as the second best German company. Follow in the ranking of the largest EPO applicants from Germany BASF, Continental and the Fraunhofer Society.

German companies are well positioned on important future issues. Siemens is among the top five in the areas of machine learning and pattern recognition, image data processing and generation, and data retrieval. Bosch takes second place in machine learning and pattern recognition.

More: Germany is losing touch with innovations

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Deutsche Bahn is testing new windows for better cell phone reception

Berlin “We can try it, but I’m on the train.” Those who travel by train often know the warning, which – in a way or something similar – is often preceded by phone calls made there. Finally, it is not unlikely that the conversation just started will be interrupted again after a few seconds. Mobile radio reception by rail is still too patchy.

“Even on main routes, radio coverage is not yet optimal,” says Karl-Peter Naumann, honorary chairman of the Pro Bahn passenger association. The reason for this is that Deutsche Bahn always refers to the infrastructure along the route: “Without a good and extensive network along the railway lines, good cell phone reception is not possible on the trains,” says the train. And for the expansion of the network, the three mobile operators are Telekom, Vodafone and Telefónica responsible.

By the end of last year, at least all ICE routes in Germany should be provided with fast mobile communications, i.e. LTE. So the Federal Network Agency had prescribed. However, the operators finally had to admit that they would not achieve this goal in time. At least Telekom had a network coverage of 96.4 percent, Vodafone 95 percent. Telefónica customers have good reception on only around 80 percent of the ICE routes.

If you ask the companies, however, they are not alone to blame for the fact that mobile surfing and phone calls often work so badly. “Disks in ICE massively degrade reception and thus ensure that, for example, of 30 MBit per second, which can be reached directly on the track outside the train, only 30 arrive on the ICE,” says a Vodafone spokesman. Telekom and Telefónica also agree: window panes can have a negative impact on reception.

It is no coincidence that many train windows actually do not allow reception to pass well: they are so insulated that the trains do not overheat. “These windows are provided with a thin metal layer that keeps solar radiation away,” explains the train – and admits: “Cellular waves are also difficult to get into the train through the metal layer.”

Radio masts are missing

To ensure that the signal arrives at the passenger, the train uses signal amplifiers – so-called repeaters. The radio waves on the outside of the train are picked up by antennas, transmitted to the inside and passed through the wagons via the repeaters.

“We have already equipped all ICE trains with cell phone repeaters,” said Sabina Jeschke, head of technology. “Now we are working on technically upgrading the IC fleet as well.” This is helpful for Pro-Bahn Honorary Chairman Naumann. “You can already tell the difference between sitting in a train with repeaters or in an old train that doesn’t have one,” he says.

Nevertheless, Deutsche Bahn is currently experimenting with an alternative: frequency-permeable windows. The heat-insulating metal layer of the windows is processed with a laser in such a way that it becomes transparent to all frequencies of radio waves.

This has several advantages: On the one hand, the panes are significantly less susceptible to maintenance. On the other hand, according to Bahn, they are compatible with all mobile radio standards and do not need to be converted or retrofitted – for example, when the new 5G standard will soon be expanded. The windows have nothing to do with the WLAN offer in long-distance rail transport; this signal still comes to customers via antennas and WLAN routers.

The tests with the windows would be carried out under real conditions and should be completed this year, the company says. “The first results show that there are no problems with the use in high-speed applications.” There is therefore no schedule for possible widespread use. But it is easy to imagine that the disks will replace the repeaters in the medium term.

Nevertheless, where there are no radio masts, even the best windows are of no use. “You also have to blame politics,” says Naumann. This failed to put enough pressure on the mobile operators. For example, the Federal Network Agency has so far been reluctant to pay fines due to missed deadlines.

Structural hurdles are often responsible for the fact that the construction of antennas on the rails is particularly problematic. For this purpose, one is now in discussion with the train, for example to better supply ICE tunnels, according to Telefónica and Vodafone.

According to the network agency, by the end of 2022 all “important rail routes”, i.e. ICE and IC routes with a large number of passengers, must be supplied with at least 100 Mbit / s. By the end of 2024, all other rails should be covered at least 50 Mbit / s. For some time, the tentative, often only very short, telephone calls should remain everyday on many German tracks.

More: This is how Deutsche Bahn is gearing up for the corona epidemic

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USA extend exemption for trading in Huawei

Huawei

The United States extends an exception rule for doing business with the Chinese network supplier.

(Photo: AP)

Washington The US government has again extended an exception for trading with the Chinese network supplier Huawei by 45 days. The deadline now runs until May 15, the Ministry of Economy announced.

The US government blacklisted Huawei last May. This prohibits US corporations from doing business with Huawei. A few days later, however, the government decided to grant an exemption that would allow some US states to continue doing business with the Chinese company.

This was intended to ensure the regular operation of certain existing network technologies and devices in rural regions. This exception has been continuously extended since then.

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1 & 1 Drillisch pushes cellular plans through new alliance

Head office of 1 & 1 in Montabaur

The expansion of the future 5G mobile communications standard is closely related to the expansion of the fiber optic network in Germany.


(Photo: dpa)

Dusseldorf Last summer there was a fundamental change in the German mobile communications market. Internet entrepreneur Ralph Dommermuth had set himself the goal of establishing the established network operator Deutsche Telekom. Vodafone and challenge Telefónica. To do this, he wanted to set up a fourth network operator.

In the auction of 5G frequencies alone, the United Internet-Subsidiary Drillish Netz AG from around one billion euros. After the auction ended in June, things became quiet about Dommermuth and his ambitious plans.
Until now.

As the Handelsblatt learned, Dommermuth’s group around United Internet was able to agree on a framework agreement after months of negotiations with the Federal Association for Broadband Communication (Breko), in which many city network operators are united. This provides that the approximately 200 Breko companies together with the United Internet subsidiary 1 & 1 Versatel push ahead with fiber optic expansion in Germany and above all want to help open up 5G mobile phone locations.

The step has a signal effect. The expansion of the future 5G mobile communications standard is closely related to the expansion of the fiber optic network in Germany. An antenna can usually only be used reliably for 5G if it has been connected with fiber optics. However, the expansion is expensive and many construction companies are overloaded. It can sometimes take months or years for a construction company to tackle an optical fiber project.

United Internet tries to avoid this bottleneck. Versatel operates an approximately 50,000 km long fiber optic network, is active in 250 German cities, including 19 of the 25 largest cities in Germany. However, this is not enough for the expansion of 5G mobile radio. For comparison: Deutsche Telekom’s fiber optic network spans more than 500,000 kilometers.

5G expansion of 1 & 1 take off

Versatel technical director Claus Beck said: “The cooperation with Breko and its members means that the planning of the 5G mobile network of our sister company 1 & 1 Drillisch continues to gain momentum.” Breko managing director Stephan Albers said the framework agreement enables the networks without long negotiations to provide for mobile phone locations. “Many will participate because it is an attractive business model,” emphasized Albers. Versatel is a member of the Breko.

For United Internet, however, a core problem remains unsolved. It will be many years before the company can offer its own network across Germany. The agreement with Breko can accelerate the expansion in rural areas. But nothing more.

For months now, United Internet has been negotiating with the three major network operators Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefónica to share their infrastructure. So far, however, according to Handelsblatt information, no agreement has been reached. United Internet was not satisfied with the network operators’ offers. They complain that United Internet wants to buy valuable access to expensive infrastructure for little money.

United Internet originally pushed for legally guaranteed guarantees for the shared use of the other networks, so-called national roaming. The president of the Federal Network Agency, Jochen Homann, had argued: “It is not legally possible to oblige companies to let third parties online and to dictate prices.” However, he had said that all providers were subject to a negotiation requirement and a ban on discrimination.

United Internet insists on these rules. “If no timely solution emerges, the Federal Network Agency will have to exercise its referee role,” said a spokesman. The company had already complained to the advisory board of the Federal Network Agency about the procedure of the network operator. The “mirror” had first reported on the step. A formal complaint to the authority is still pending. However, a review process could take months to years.

More: More and more companies are building on the 5G standard

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Right in the heart

Dusseldorf When Edwin Diender talks about the cities of the future, he sounds like a doctor. Just as a nervous system runs through the body, every house, organization and person in the smart city should be digitally networked. “And in order to keep the organism alive,” says Diender, “a functioning heart is needed.” In this case, it just consists of black server cabinets.

Diender is Chief Digital Transformation Officer (CDO) at the technology group Huawei in Shenzhen, China. He advises authorities on how best to digitize cities. And one of these cities is 9000 kilometers from Shenzhen.

Like almost all cities in the Ruhr area, Duisburg recognized the opportunities of digital transformation – and realized that it requires different knowledge and resources. Some cities therefore rely on partnerships with local companies and universities, others also team up with international technology groups. Dortmund is cooperating with the US company Cisco – and Duisburg with Huawei.

It is the unusual combination of two very different partners: on the one hand, a city in debt with 500,000 inhabitants who is struggling with the end of the coal and steel age. On the other hand, a global technology group with 190,000 employees and sales of more than 100 billion euros.

Unusually, as this connection is, it could be a model for the future in which little can be done without the support of large tech companies in the public sector. So who helps such a partnership more? And why Huawei?

Above all: What exactly do the two do together? It’s not that easy to answer. The City of Mayor Sören Link signed the letter of intent with Huawei in January 2018, initially not wanting the city to issue – so as not to reveal any “business and trade secrets”.

Flowery memorandum

Users of the “Ask the State” online portal then put pressure on the city, and in July 2019 the city gave way. The flowery “Memorandum of Understanding” states that it is a “non-binding cooperation framework” for “discussion purposes”. Huawei wants to participate in an “innovative information and communication technology solution with partner ecosystem” and develop “projects for intelligent and safe cities”. But what does that mean, please?

If you want to get to know Huawei’s ideal version of an intelligent and safe city, you will find it in the north of Shenzhen. Electric taxis and buses whisper quietly on the streets, 230,000 sensors and 3,300 facial recognition cameras capture the action. Everything is controlled from a control center with technology from Huawei.

If the data center is the heart of the smart city, the Intelligent Operation Center is the brain, says CDO Diender. He is standing in front of a huge screen with a 3-D card with green, yellow, red and blue zones on it. On the top left is the date: January 10, 2020, 2:57 p.m., 26 degrees Celsius, including a public safety index, currently at 90 out of 100 points. Almost everything that can be measured around the security of the district is displayed: crime cases, police stations, factories.

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Diender now controls the screen display with the mouse as if he were navigating through the Sim City computer game. He can visualize all events in real time: Where does a traffic jam occur? How long do you have to wait at a construction site? Where is the air polluted? He zooms in on an intersection full of cameras. One records who drives too fast; another recognizes the number plates; others notice who crosses the street despite red traffic lights or who changes lanes too quickly. All this information is linked: which car with which license plate has driven too fast? Who violated traffic rules?

Duisburg Mayor Sören Link also took a look at the Intelligent Operation Center. However, he does not dream of all-round surveillance, but of smart street lights and WiFi in all classrooms. In order to become a smart city, he put together a network of private and public actors: the University of Duisburg-Essen, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the business association for Duisburg – and Huawei. This is the only way to generate innovative and creative ideas that make the city fit for the future, says Link. You also benefit from other experiences: “Including a global player is only helpful here.”

How this works can be observed in a waterworks on the city limits of Düsseldorf. Markus Schneider pushes a trolley with three wheels in front of him, on which six cameras and four laser scanners are attached – the “most expensive rollator in Duisburg”, says the computer scientist. On the screen attached to the trolley, he observes in real time how the system captures the surroundings in seconds and creates a 3D floor plan.

Schneider shows the result on a canvas: With a click of the mouse, he can navigate through a virtual view of the waterworks. This is how Schneider and his team record Duisburg schools and the town hall. Citizens should be able to navigate virtually through authorities, and the fire brigade can better plan escape and evacuation routes.

The data flows into the Rhine Cloud. And this is where Huawei comes in: the group developed the cloud platform together with the IT service provider DU-IT, a subsidiary of the Duisburg supply company. The data of all smart city applications in the city come together on the platform. Huawei also brokered the contact to the Munich start-up, which manufactures the 3D scan trolley. The group is virtually involved in all Smart City activities in Duisburg.

The cooperation initially applies to five years, almost like a temporary marriage. It is an important step for the company. Europe is an important market and a cultural landmark. This is also reflected in the new research and development campus in the north of Shenzhen. The company has built a miniature version of Europe over nine square kilometers. Thousands of employees ride an electric tram based on the Swiss model Jungfraubahn over the Budapest Liberty Bridge, past parks, fountains and a replica of Versailles. A replica of Heidelberg Castle is enthroned directly on the shore of a large lake.

You can find it cheesy or megalomaniac. Above all, it is an expression of deep admiration for European architecture, art, music and the culture of ideas. When German cities rely on partnership, that’s an honor for Huawei.
For all those who already have doubts about the trustworthiness of the group, this is just one more argument for distrust. For more than a year, the example of 5G technology has been used to discuss the extent to which the company could gain insight into German data or even pass it on to the Chinese state.

Huawei denies the allegations. The company “never has and will never do anything that jeopardizes or compromises the security of its customers’ networks and data,” he said officially. Is it about data security or about US foreign trade policy? The allegations are not really cleared up. But they are a burden for collaborations like the one with Duisburg.

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Old connection

Martin Murrack, treasurer and head of digitization in the city, sees no reason for distrust. In his office, he tells the story of a shared history with China: the New Silk Road ends at the port, up to 40 trains arrive every week with clothing or electronic parts from China, and the goods are redistributed from Duisburg. Around 100 Chinese companies have settled in the city. And Huawei? “They have no interest in our data at all,” says Murrack. The group only wants to sell hardware.

Jan Weidenfeld sees it differently. He is a security expert at the Mercator Institute for China Research in Berlin. Huawei’s commitment is part of the Chinese strategy: “Investments in a city are always gladly sold as a package.” The Chinese state has great influence on its national champions – even if Huawei repeatedly emphasizes that it is a private, independent company.

Martin Murrack emphasizes that the city has worked intensively on the security of its data. That is why she also has her own data center on Duisburg soil. Servers built in by Huawei can be exchanged for those of other providers at any time. As long as the German government does not fundamentally exclude Huawei as a technology partner, the city will stick to the partnership.

This is the problem of cooperation in the high-tech sector: you will only really be able to evaluate it when facts have been created. It will take a while. It is an opportunity for Duisburg to reposition itself: as a city of smart services instead of cold coal.

The research was funded by a grant from the Association for Research and Reportage e.V. from the non-profit Brost Foundation.

More: This text comes from the new ada magazine. If you want to understand tomorrow today, have a look: join-ada.com.

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