Bulgaria Signs 5G Security Declaration With US

Bulgaria Signs 5G Security Declaration With US
Attendees wait in line for a 5G exhibition at the Qualcomm booth during CES 2019 consumer electronics show at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nev., on Jan. 10, 2019. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

SOFIA—Bulgaria and the United States signed on Friday a declaration on security of next generation 5G mobile telecoms networks, which should ensure protected and clean communications, officials said on Friday.

Bulgaria has joined the U.S. State Department's Clean Network initiative, which says it seeks to eliminate "long-term threats to data privacy, security, and human rights posed to the free world from authoritarian malign actors, such as the Chinese Communist Party."

"Bulgaria is in good company. As a member of the NATO Alliance it now joins 27 of the 30 NATO member states as a member of the Clean Network," said Keith Krach, U.S. undersecretary for economic affairs, in a video released by the Bulgarian government from the signing.

The U.S. embassy in Sofia called the signing "historic" and said Bulgaria was joining a "growing coalition of countries and companies committed to protecting their 5G networks from untrusted vendors."

Washington has been alarmed by Beijing's dominance in the 5G infrastructure market and has pressed its allies to exclude China's Huawei Technologies.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said the European Union has already provided guidelines on 5G network security and that they should be built on fair competition and transparency.

The government's statement did not mention any specific vendors or what the document would mean for Bulgarian telecoms operators that will develop the 5G networks.

But Bulgarian business newspaper Kapital quoted Krach as saying the main idea of the initiative was to ensure the Bulgarian telecoms operators will use trusted vendors and would not choose Huawei and ZTE.

By Tsvetelia Tsolova