Portugal excludes Chinese providers from its 5G network, blocking Huawei’s rollout

Brian Adam

In a bold move, Portugal has decided to close its doors to companies from “high risk” countries and jurisdictions with respect to its fifth generation (5G) telephone network.

Following in the footsteps of other Western nations, Portugal has effectively blocked Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co. from its market, raising surprises and sparking talk of implications for national security.


Portugal effectively blocks Huawei and other providers from “high-risk” countries from its 5G network

The Portuguese government recently published a statement outlining its decision to ban the use of equipment from suppliers based outside the European Union, as well as from non-member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). This measure is intended to safeguard national networks from potential security risks associated with equipment supplied by companies from these “high-risk” regions.

In its statement, the security assessment committee of the government’s Higher Council for Cyberspace Security highlighted that companies from outside these specific jurisdictions pose a significant risk to the security of national networks.

This decision also excludes Indian, Russian, African or Latin American companies. However, the weight of this law falls mainly on Chinese providers, including Huawei, which, within its strong presence in the telecommunications area, had previously collaborated with some Portuguese companies to develop their 5G networks.

An order that does not mention specific suppliers and without an established schedule

The government statement did not explicitly name any specific provider that is now barred from participating. Furthermore, no timetable was provided for telcos in Portugal to remove equipment supplied by these now-banned providers from their networks.


The Portuguese business newspaper O Jornal Economico was the first to report the decision, sparking discussion and speculation within the industry.

Global concerns about security in 5G network infrastructure

This move by Portugal echoes concerns expressed by several other Western countries regarding the potential risks associated with allowing companies from certain nations to participate in building critical infrastructure such as 5G networks. These concerns primarily revolve around the possibility of foreign governments accessing or influencing sensitive data and communications that raise national security concerns.

Outside of being controversial, this ban marks a new milestone in the ongoing global debate about the involvement of Chinese technology companies in the 5G network infrastructure. As countries navigate the complex landscape of emerging technologies and national security, it is clear that the issue of trust and risk assessment will continue to shape the future of telecommunications.

While Portugal takes a definitive position, the debate on the balance between innovation, national security and international cooperation intensifies. Time will tell how this move will affect the telecommunications landscape in Portugal and beyond.

Security and trust in network infrastructure have become paramount concerns for governments in more and more countries, and decisions made by their authorities will influence how emerging technologies are developed and used.