LG U+ is planning to release the results of security verification for 5G equipment from China’s Huawei in August or September this year. The company is trying to address the growing controversy over the security of Huawei equipment. Yet the controversy keeps spreading to major European countries, making it more difficult for LG U+ to address the problem.
Last year, LG U+ has sent Huawei's base station equipment source code and various materials to an international common criteria (CC) verification institution in Spain to test the security of the Chinese vendor’s equipment.
LG U+ said, "Huawei will release the results in the third quarter as soon as the security test on its equipment is completed."
Huawei is one of the four equipment vendors LG U+ has selected to build its 5G networks. The other three vendors are Samsung Electronics, Nokia and Ericsson. Unlike LG U+, SK Telecom and KT Corp. excluded Huawei from the list of equipment vendors.
"The initial 5G network is built in a non-standing alone (NSA) fashion to ensure compatibility with the current LTE network," said Ha Hyun-hwoi, vice chairman of LG U+. "Security issues should be fully verified not only for Huawei but also for other vendors. Following the Korean security regulations, all companies have been verified against the 70 security guidelines of the Korea Internet Security Agency."
Despite the efforts by LG U+ and Huawei for security verification, analysts still point to the security vulnerability of Huawei equipment. They argue that the common criteria for international security verification only confirm the security features of the equipment, which is fundamentally different from addressing the “backdoor allegations” against Huawei equipment. In particular, LG U+ said in 2013 that it would apply for security verification of Huawei LTE equipment, but official results have never been announced yet.
Critics also note that the security verification results are scheduled to come out after the commercialization of 5G services in March. "LG U+ will use Huawei equipment in Seoul and the metropolitan area, which accommodate half of the Korean population," said an official from the telecommunications industry. "If security problems actually occur or are found in the verification process after all the base stations are installed, it will raise big problems," he added.
The controversy surrounding Huawei equipment was triggered by the U.S.-China trade dispute and is rapidly spreading to Europe and Japan on top of the United States. In particular, Deutsche Telekom of Germany, Softbank of Japan and Orange of France, which have been Huawei’s partners for a long time, announced that they will “review the Huawei equipment and will suspend its use for a while.”
On this note, LG U+ said, "Europe is moving in the opposite direction of the United States’ exclusion of Chinese companies. Identification and management of subscriber information are done in a wired core network, and LG U+ uses Samsung products to build its core network."