The Italian government confirmed it will drop emergency legislation aimed at strengthening state powers to intervene in the country’s 5G infrastructure market, Reuters reported, citing Italian lawmakers.
Last week, Italy approved a decree to increase the government’s powers to intervene in the critical 5G market, mainly due to concerns about the potential involvement of Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE, according to a government source.
Cabinet undersecretary Vincenzo Santangelo recently told the Senate’s Finance committee that the government would not push to approve the decree to strengthen its so-called “golden power.” The government decree required the confirmation of the Parliament to enter into force.
The ruling coalition, integrated by the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the far-right League, plans to submit a draft bill in Parliament, which could take months to become law, Santangelo told Reuters.
Laura Bottici, a 5-Star lawmaker, said that the government wanted more time to consult with Huawei and ZTE, both of which have recently expressed their dissatisfaction over the government’s new legislation, which would only apply to non-EU companies.
Luigi De Vecchis, chairman of Huawei Italia, said the decree, if ratified by the Parliament, would discriminate the Chinese company.
“Huawei risks discrimination among competitors,” De Vecchis said in a parliamentary hearing earlier this week. The executive said that local carriers would have to notify the government in advance many times of any deal involving non-European vendors, something which could encourage telecom operators to select European vendors.
Meanwhile, ZTE said the Italian government’s new powers could further delay the rollout of 5G mobile services in the country.
“The recent decree of golden power creates more and bigger uncertainty for the industry players,” ZTE Italy CEO Hu Kun said. “Uncertainty is not good for investment business and would definitely further delay 5G deployment,” the executive added.
In related news, UK’s Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) said Britain’s new prime minister must urgently make a decision on the role China’s Huawei will have in the deployment of 5G networks in the country as the ongoing debate is damaging international relations, according to a report by Reuters.
The United States has threatened to cut off intelligence sharing with allies who use Huawei’s 5G gear, as Washington believes the equipment could be used by Beijing for spying. Meanwhile, China has warned the British government that excluding the company from future 5G contracts could hurt investment and trade.
Britain’s National Security Council, chaired by outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May, had meetings in April to discuss the issue. A decision was made to exclude Huawei equipment from all critical parts of the 5G network but to give it restricted access to less sensitive parts, such as the Radio Access Network.
However, May’s decision to step down has stalled the process, according to the Reuters report. Her replacement, either foreign minister Jeremy Hunt or former London mayor Boris Johnson, is expected to be installed next week.
“Such an important decision therefore requires careful consideration,” parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) said in a statement. “However, the extent of the delay is now causing serious damage to our international relationships: a decision must be made as a matter of urgency.”
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