Friday, 23 August 2019

UK's Intelligence & Security Committee: Banning Huawei would damage 5G security standards

By Chris Kelly, Total Telecom
Friday 19 July 19

The UK government is still in the process of deciding whether Huawei will be allowed to play a major role in its 5G network architecture

The UK's Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament has urged the UK not to exclude Chinese tech giant Huawei from its 5G rollout plans, saying that reducing the number of possible 5G vendors to two would seriously impact on competition. Huawei has been a key player in the UK's telecoms networks for over 18 years and enjoys a 35 per cent share of the country's 4G network architecture…

The UK's Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament has urged the UK not to exclude Chinese tech giant Huawei from its 5G rollout plans, saying that reducing the number of possible 5G vendors to two would seriously impact on competition.

Huawei has been a key player in the UK's telecoms networks for over 18 years and enjoys a 35 per cent share of the country's 4G network architecture.

However, Huawei has been the subject of a US led campaign, which claimed that the company represented a serious threat to the national security of the countries in which it operates. The US has offered no evidence whatsoever to corroborate these allegations but has nonetheless called on its allies to ban the Chinese tech giant from their 5G network deployments.

As a result, the UK has been conducting a rigorous investigation into Huawei. Yesterday, the government's Science and Technology Committee said that it could find "no technological grounds for excluding Huawei entirely from the UK's 5G or other telecommunications networks."

In a statement released today, the Intelligence and Security Committee said that removing Huawei from the 5G mix and reducing the number of potential vendors to just two (Nokia and Ericsson), would be detrimental to the country's network security.

"The telecoms market has been consolidated down to just a few players: in the case of 5G there are only three potential suppliers to the UK - Nokia, Ericsson and Huawei. Limiting the field to just two, on the basis of the above arguments, would increase over-dependence and reduce competition, resulting in less resilience and lower security standards. Therefore, including a third company - even if you may have some security concerns about them and will have to set a higher bar for security measures within the system - will, counter-intuitively, result in higher overall security," the report said.

The report went on to say that the UK must be mindful of angering the US by defying its call to ban Huawei but reiterated the fact that there was no technological reason to ban the Chinese tech giant.  

The announcement was greeted enthusiastically by Huawei's representatives in the UK, as the world's biggest 5G vendor looks set to continue its symbiotic relationship with the UK's mobile network operators.  

“We agree that diversity improves resilience in networks. We’ve been a part of UK networks for 18 years. 5G is critical for the UK and is the foundation of tomorrow’s digital and mobile economy. Quite simply, it will improve people's lives. Our priority has only ever been to deliver world-leading technology to our customers,” said Victor Zhang, vice-president of Huawei.

Also in the news

Brazil backs Huawei, as Latam gears up for 5G

Vodafone beefs up its 5G offering across Europe 

BT sells its London HQ for £209.6m

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