The Portuguese government will analyze the threats in fifth generation mobile networks (5G) to national cybersecurity, as recommended by Brussels, although they do not see them as "new", and it defends a "clear responsibility" of the companies in this matter.
"Following the European recommendation, […] preparatory work is under way to enable each Member State to carry out its risk analysis in a harmonized way. At the national level, Anacom [Autoridade Nacional de Comunicações] is working with the National Security Office / National Center for Cybersecurity, among other entities, on this matter, "the Ministry of Infrastructures and Housing in a written response sent to Lusa.
After being questioned by Lusa, the guardianship points out that "the risks are not new or only related to the 5G", at a time marked by suspected espionage controversies that mainly fall on the Chinese manufacturer Huawei. "The issue of network security is central to ensuring the country's development and security and upholding the interests of citizens," he said. "It is a clear responsibility of companies and providers of hardware and software, ' in this matter".
China's Huawei is accused of industrial espionage by the United States, but has been refuting the charges. The US administration has, therefore, pressured countries like Portugal to reject Huawei in 5G technology, but the Portuguese government has been devaluing the controversy.
At the end of March, the European Commission made a number of recommendations to the Member States on 5G networks, including risk assessment, allowing them to exclude companies "for national security reasons" from their markets.
Asked by Lusa about this possibility, the Ministry of Infrastructures indicates that "at this moment, the issue is premature, because the matter is essentially being conducted at a European level in a way that is intended to be harmonized."
The Guardianship also notes that in April of this year Anacom adopted a regulation on the security of electronic communications services, stipulating rules for companies that make public networks comply in order to protect users. A question that, for the executive, is "a fundamental matter that can not be neglected". "As in any other case of introduction of new technologies, 5G will bring uncertainties and risks that have to be taken care of", notes the guardianship.
Already questioned about the implementation of 5G in Portugal, the Government explains that the liberation of the 700 mega-hertz (MHz) electromagnetic band for this use should "start in the last quarter of 2019 and run until the end of May 2020" implying a move from digital terrestrial television (DTT) to another frequency.
Regarding the attribution of the spectrum for commercialization of 5G, the guardianship refers that Anacom is still "pondering several scenarios". "The implementation of 5G requires the installation of a large number of antennas closer to the user, interconnected with fiber optics, which also requires investment in fixed networks," says the executive, pointing out the need for "infrastructure sharing and co-investment" .
The objective of Brussels is that 5G be marketed in at least one city per Member State by 2020 and should be extended to other urban centers by 2025.