In Germany, the first auction for 5G frequencies is running. Almost simultaneously, the European Commission is calling for a joint vote to ensure the security of the new mobile communications standard.
According to the European Commission’s assessment of March 26, 2019, the new 5G mobile communications standard will be a key factor in European competitiveness on the world market. After all, according to estimates by the Commission, sales in the year 2025 should amount to 225 billion euros. A proportion that should not be underestimated.
Europe lags behind
The economic outlook for Europe sounds good. However, it is regrettable that previous efforts by individual Member States to free up frequencies for 5G are rather miserable. After all, Germany has now begun to auction a few frequencies. But looking at the world market, it becomes clear that America and much of Asia are already much ahead. For example, T-Mobile in the USA has already begun to expand the 5G network. This year, it is set to launch in 30 American cities with the new standard. The nationwide launch is planned for the coming year. Of these, the states in Europe are still a long way away.
Security for 5G
Nonetheless, the EU is at least starting a cybersecurity initiative. For example, the European Commission recommends that Member States complete a national risk assessment of the 5G network infrastructure at national level by the end of June 2019. “On that basis, Member States should then revise existing security requirements for network operators and lay down conditions to ensure the security of public networks, in particular for the licensing of radio spectrum in 5G bands,” the proposal says. In addition, the EU Commission recommends that “Member States share information and, with the support of the Commission and the European Cybersecurity Agency (ENISA), conduct a coordinated risk assessment by October 1, 2019” then agree on a set of risk mitigation measures that can be used at national level. These would include, for example, certification requirements, testing and controls, and the naming of products or providers that are considered potentially unsafe. That sounds like a concrete framework for the security of 5G. However, it is questionable whether the Member States can act so quickly.
The European Commission proposes the following steps:
- Member States should complete their national risk assessments by June 30, 2019 and update their necessary security measures. National risk assessments should be available to the Commission and the European Cybersecurity Agency by July 15, 2019.
- In parallel, Member States and the Commission will start their coordination work within the NIS Cooperation Group. ENISA will finalize its 5G Threat Report, which will be used by Member States to conduct the EU-wide risk assessment by October 1, 2019.
- By December 31, 2019, the NIS Cooperation Group should then agree on risk mitigation measures to address identified cybersecurity risks at national and EU level.
- As soon as the cybersecurity legislation recently passed by the European Parliament enters into force in the coming weeks, the Commission and ENISA will set up the EU-wide certification framework. Member States are invited to work with the Commission and ENISA to prioritize the certification scheme for 5G networks and equipment.
- By October 1, 2020, Member States, in cooperation with the Commission, should assess the impact of this recommendation in order to determine whether further action is needed. This evaluation should take into account the results of the coordinated European risk assessment and the effectiveness of the tool.
Source: Europäische Kommission
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