Security of Telecomunication Networks in a Post Quantum Era – Executive Summary

The telecom industry now needs to mobilise to define guidelines and processes for the Post-Quantum Cryptography (PQC) transition

The transition to Post-Quantum Cryptography has started…

Quantum Computing has great potential, but also brings business risk with far reaching consequences on telco networks and customers. Governments have begun planning and issuing guidance to mitigate these risks.

Business Risks
Store Now, Decrypt Later

Store sensitive data with the goal to decrypt when quantum computers are available

Code-signing and Digital signatures

Compromise service authentication leading to vulnerabilities in software updates

Rewriting history

Compromise the integrity of digitally signed data e.g. contracts.

Key Management Attacks

Long-term data storage can be vulnerable by attacking key management

How can the Industry prepare?

  • GSMA Members have defined impact assessment (1) for the transition to Post-Quantum Cryptography in telecom networks
  • Refresh of existing security architecture is required as existing algorithms become vulnerable
  • Engage with industry groups, government, and vendors on the roadmaps to implement Post-Quantum Cryptography
  • Understand how to treat legacy systems, services and products that may not be updated
  • Reduce the creation of cryptographic debt
  • Consider impacts to key management systems

How can Operators prepare?

  • Establish a cryptographic inventory: understand where cryptographic algorithms are used in systems or vendor products
  • Plan a cryptography risk assessment
  • Develop expertise in Post-Quantum Cryptography and security
  • Support standardisation & open-source
  • Support related research.
  • Engage with customers and vendors for requirements
  • Develop a Post-Quantum Cryptography transition plan

Potential New Services

  • Quantum-Safe VPN
  • Quantum-Safe SD-WAN
  • Quantum-Safe connection between enterprise customers and hybrid cloud
  • Quantum-Safe IoT connectivity
  • Quantum-Safe satellite communications links
  • Quantum-Safe data archive

Government Response

Governments are aware of the risks and recommend industry to begin planning.

Country PQC Standards Published Guidance
Australia NIST CTPCO (2021) – early implementation from 2025
Canada NIST Cyber Centre (2021) – implementation from 2025
China China Specific CACR (2020) – start planning
EC NIST ENISA (2022) – start planning
France NIST (non-exclusive) ANSSI (2022) – transition from 2025
Germany NIST (non-exclusive) BSI (2022) – start planning
Japan Monitoring NIST CRYPTREC – start planning
New Zealand NIST NZISM (2022) – start planning
Singapore Monitoring NIST MCI (2022)
South Korea KpqC MSIT (2022) – competition started 2022
UK NIST NCSC (2020) – start planning
USA NIST NSA (2022) – implementation from 2023

In summary, Operators and Industry Partners are advised to…

  • Plan for future implementation to the transition to Post-Quantum Cryptography.
  • Begin deploying Post-Quantum Cryptographic algorithms as they are standardised.
  • Take advantage of cross- industry and Government moment.



Post Quantum Telco Network – Impact Assesment – Whitepaper

You can find further detail information on the published Post Quantum Telco Network Impact Assesment Whitepaper here.

Contact the GSMA

Please get in touch if you need more information or have any queries about anything you see on our website.

Contact us