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UK won't ban Huawei's 5G equipment, despite US pressure

UK won't ban Huawei's 5G equipment, despite US pressure

The great 5G cold war is under way, but as the US continues to pressure allied countries to ban the Chinese tech giant, Huawei, one key ally remains unconvinced. According to the Financial Times, the UK's National Cyber Security Centre has concluded that there is no need to ban Huawei gear in the country's 5G infrastructure.

The findings of the NCSC are still not official, and according to a government spokesperson, the review of 5G security is still ongoing and it would be inaccurate to speak about definite decisions. So while a blanket ban of Huawei equipment may have been ruled out, we still don't know how the UK will approach the issue of a potential security threat from the Chinese firm. It could well be that some restrictions on Huawei gear will be employed in certain areas, in order to limit potential risk. Hardware from several suppliers could be used to avoid dependence on one company.

AndroidPIT China
The US is suspicious of Huawei's close relationship with the Chinese government. / © AndroidPIT

Of course, any presence of Huawei equipment in UK 5G networks defies the agenda of one of the countries strongest allies, the United States. American officials are calling on friendly nations to ban Huawei entirely from their countries, alleging that Huawei could use its equipment to spy for the Chinese government. To date, there is no public evidence to back this up, but Huawei equipment has been banned in the US and some allied nations such as Australia and Japan have followed suit. European countries are also considering Huawei bans.

If the UK rejects the call to ban Huawei, then US will have an uphill struggle in its quest to persuade other countries to join the embargo. After all, if such a close US ally as the UK believes Huawei to be a manageable risk and is willing to defy the US on the issue, why should they be frightened? 

What do you think of Huawei's role in 5G networks? Is the US right to raise concerns?

Source: Financial Times

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  • Interesting that the FT article ends by noting suspicions that US opposition to Huawei is partly because its own NSA spies wouldn't be able to intercept 5G as they can and have done (Snowden) on current networks.

    According to Bloomberg (2017 data, reported Dec 2018) the market share of Global 5G build out is as follows:

    Huawei 28%
    Ericsson 27%
    Nokia 23%
    ZTE 13%
    Samsung 3%
    Others 6%

    The brute fact is that taking 40% Chinese out of the 5G build out is going to significantly delay 5G implementation, and significant delay has significant consequences for national competitiveness and the quality of life we love to love from more and faster broadband, and love to whine about not getting.

    Granting a reasonable case for security issues with Chinese companies (which may or may not be reasonably mitigated in different countries) there needs to be a "Plan B" for how to deploy 5G at scale. With the rest of the world all wanting the same from the same 60% of suppliers. that's where the furious Huawexit contingent shuts up: there's a special place in Hell for those who want to dump Chinese tech without a plan.

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