British officials will reportedly give the greenlight for the use of Huawei 5 G equipment in UK networks ignoring US pressure to exclude Huawei from the country’s 5G network. The US believes that allowing Huawei to operate the UK 5G network could put transatlantic intelligence sharing or even the UK – US trade deal at risk.
Despite US pressure, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK can enjoy technological progress while preserving national security. In an interview with the BBC Johnson said: “The British public deserve to have access to the best possible technology. We want to put in gigabit broadband for everybody.”
Victor Zhang, Vice-President, Huawei in a media statement said: “ We have been reassured by the UK government that we can continue working with our customers to keep the 5G roll-out on track. This evidence-based decision will result in a more advanced, more secure and more cost-effective telecoms infrastructure that is fit for the future. It gives the UK access to world-leading technology and ensures a competitive market.
We have supplied cutting-edge technology to telecoms operators in the UK for over 15 years. We will build on this strong track record, supporting our customers as they invest in their 5G networks, boosting economic growth and helping the UK continue to compete globally.”
US pressure on allies
The US administration has been trying to convince its allies not to allow the Chinese tech giant to develop their 5G networks, claiming it would be a security risk, without providing any evidence. Perhaps it is a case of jealousy. Huawei’s 5G development is way ahead of any US company.
Despite the US’ restrictions and a prolonged campaign against Huawei’s business, the company remains a leader in the 5G competitive landscape.” According to IPlytics GmbH, Huawei is the No.1 in terms of the number of 5G Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) and the number of 5G standard contributions. Huawei ranks 5th in terms of R&D investment on 2018 EU R&D Investment Scoreboard, followed by Nokia(27) and Ericsson(45).
The British Government has full access to evaluate the Huawei product range through the Cyber Security and Evaluation Centre which opened in 2010.UK security agencies believe they have managed security speculation around the Chinese supplier up to now and will be able to do so with the 5G network.The director-general of MI5, Andrew Parker, said earlier this month that he had “no reason to believe” that using Huawei technology should threaten intelligence sharing with the US.
The British government has reiterated that the “sustainable diversity in the 5G supplier market” is the centrepiece of resilience of telecom networks, not just a question of in or out.
Many believe that cutting competition by a reduction to just two vendor choices, cannot be good for the market and consumers, neither helpful to strengthening resilience of telecoms networks that UK government describes as “of paramount importance”.
Dexter Thillien, a senior TMT analyst at Fitch Solutions, told CNBC that “Three is better than two. If you ban Huawei, you have a choice between Ericsson and Nokia. You lack competition.”
No ban on Huawei in EU
Across the EU, no government has yet imposed an outright ban on Huawei. Operators warn that banning Huawei may add years of delays and billions in costs to European countries’ 5G network launch.
As Germany will take on the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second half of this year, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said diversification is crucial to ensuring a country’s security in the roll-out of 5G mobile technology and shunning one supplier is counterproductive.