BERLIN (Reuters) – The German government has agreed in principle to tougher oversight of telecoms network vendors that, while stopping short of a ban on Huawei, will make it harder for the Chinese company to keep a foothold in Europe’s largest market.
Coalition and government sources said on Wednesday that scrutiny of a vendor’s governance and technology would be extended to the Radio Access Networks (RAN) powering next-generation 5G services, in addition to the more sensitive core.
The sources confirmed a report in the Handelsblatt daily which said that, after two years of wrangling, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition had agreed on a formula for how to handle so-called high-risk vendors in a proposed IT security law.
The compromise still needs to be drafted into a legal text, which Merkel’s cabinet is now expected to review in November, Handelsblatt reported, without naming its sources.
European governments have been shifting their position following pressure from the United States, which says the global telecoms network leader poses a security threat because, among other concerns, Chinese companies and citizens must by law to aid the state in intelligence gathering.
Huawei, based in Shenzhen, denies that it would allow its equipment to be used for spying.
German officials say that, while Britain has formally banned Huawei and France will informally exclude it, Germany will effectively strangle it in red tape. “The final outcome is the same,” one senior security official has said.
Germany’s three mobile network operators – Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica Deutschland – are all clients of Huawei and have argued that ripping out and replacing its equipment would be costly.
Market leader Deutsche Telekom’s 5G network in Germany, built largely with Huawei equipment, already reaches 50% of the population. By the time the IT Security law takes effect, it is expected to
One in four Britons use TikTok every month, with 17 million regulars spending just over an hour a day on the app, signaling the upstart social network has built a local following almost half as large as Facebook Inc.’s in just three years.
The data, seen by Bloomberg and contained within a presentation this summer from TikTok’s marketing solutions arm, TikTok for Business, shows that among that group four in 10 are between the ages of 18 and 24 as monthly active users, so-called MAUs. The average Brit uses the app for 66 minutes a day and opens TikTok 13 times in 24 hours.
In comparison, marketing and research firms We Are Social and Hootsuite estimate Facebook has 37 million users in the U.K.
TikTok has grown prodigiously as more people seek entertainment during lockdowns triggered by the coronavirus. A similar presentation distributed in the first quarter of the year pegged TikTok at 10 million regular users in the U.K. A TikTok representative in London declined to comment on the data.
Despite travails in the U.S., where President Donald Trump has threatened to ban it, and India, where the government barred it from citizens’ phones, TikTok has continued to grow elsewhere in the world. Its signature shortform video has proven so popular that Instagram, owned by Facebook, rolled out a competing offering, Reels, earlier this summer, while Google followed with YouTube Shorts, which shares similarities with TikTok.
The future of TikTok’s U.K. business is unlikely to get caught in the crossfire between the U.S. and China. Trump ordered parent company ByteDance to sell its U.S. arm on grounds of national security and privacy—but the U.K. business is to remain under ByteDance’s Chinese owners. Some other details from around Europe: