Sunday, 25 August 2019

UK government passes on the opportunity to ban Huawei from its 5G rollout

Chris Kelly
Tuesday 23 July 19

The government’s Supply Chain Review makes no mention of a ban for the Chinese technology giant, clearing the way for Huawei to continue its 5G launch plans in the UK

The UK government has passed up the chance to ban Huawei from its 5G network rollout, following the release of its long-awaited Supply Chain Review. The UK’s Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Wright, said that the government required more time to reach a full conclusion but was unwilling to ban Huawei at present. “The House [of Commons] will be particularly concerned, of course, with the position of the Chinese technology firm Huawei…

The UK government has passed up the chance to ban Huawei from its 5G network rollout, following the release of its long-awaited Supply Chain Review.

The UK’s Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Wright, said that the government required more time to reach a full conclusion but was unwilling to ban Huawei at present.

“The House [of Commons] will be particularly concerned, of course, with the position of the Chinese technology firm Huawei. The government is not yet in a position to decide what involvement Huawei should have in the provision of the UK’s 5G network,” he told reporters on Monday.

The report is the result of months of scrutiny and investigation by the UK government into the security of Huawei’s 5G network infrastructure.

Last week, parliament’s Science and Technology Select Committee said that it had found “no technical grounds for excluding Huawei entirely from the UK’s 5G or other telecommunications networks”.

This sentiment was reiterated in the Supply Chain Review, which made no mention of a ban on Huawei, either in the core or the radio access portion of the country’s 5G network architecture.

While Huawei is yet to receive the official green light from the UK government, the latest developments appear to auger extremely well for the Chinese tech giant, as it would allow them to participate in a number of forthcoming 5G launches.  

“Our view is that this means Huawei is in, when it comes to 5G networks,” an industry source told The Guardian.

Huawei was heavily involved in the UK 5G launches of both EE and Vodafone, earlier this year. The ground now appears to be clear for Three and O2 to proceed with Huawei kit in their fledgling 5G networks, when the pair launch their next generation mobile networks in August.

Huawei’s vice president, Victor Zhang, greeted the news with confidence, saying that it set a precedent for Huawei to continue a long and fruitful relationship with the UK’s telecoms sector.

“The UK Government’s Supply Chain Review gives us confidence that we can continue to work with network operators to rollout 5G across the UK. The findings are an important step forward for 5G and full fibre broadband networks in the UK and we welcome the Government’s commitment to “a diverse telecoms supply chain” and “new legislation to enforce stronger security requirements in the telecoms sector”. After 18 years of operating in the UK, we remain committed to supporting BT, EE, Vodafone and other partners to build secure, reliable networks.”

Zheng reiterated the fact that any subsequent decision to remove Huawei from the UK’s mobile network architecture would cost the country’s MNO’s an eye watering amount and would cost the country its position as a 5G leader in Europe.

“The evidence shows that excluding Huawei would cost the UK economy £7 billion and result in more expensive 5G networks, raising prices for anyone with a mobile device. On Friday, Parliament’s Intelligence & Security Committee said limiting the market to just two telecoms suppliers would reduce competition, resulting in less resilience and lower security standards. They also confirmed that Huawei’s inclusion in British networks would not affect the channels used for intelligence sharing.”

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