Huawei: No need to rush on UK 5G decision

(Image credit: Future)

Huawei says recent US sanctions that affect the firm’s ability to source chips for its telco kit will not have an immediate impact on its supply chain and has urged the UK to carefully consider its next move.

Washington has long been hostile towards Huawei, arguing that the firm has links to the Chinese government and that its equipment is a threat to national security.

Huawei has persistently denied any allegations and the US has never produced any evidence to support its claims. Nonetheless, the US has urged allies – including the UK – to follow its lead.

Huawei UK 5G

The Chinese mobile giant is a major supplier of all four major UK operators and in January it was confirmed that he company could play a role in the rollout of 5G. The new rules effectively preserved the status quo by banning Huawei kit from the core layer of the network but permitting the use of the firm’s radio gear, subject to a 35 per cent cap.

However it was reported earlier this week that the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) believes that the new restrictions fundamentally changes the security situation and affects its ability to mitigate any potential threats.

This, it was claimed, could lead to ne regulations that would ban the purchase of new Huawei kit by 2027, paving the way for existing equipment to be removed.

Huawei Vice President Victor Zhang says the US sanctions will take some time to have an impact and therefore the government should take its time before coming to any conclusions.

“These restrictions actually haven’t had an impact on Huawei’s capability to supply to the UK’s 5G and fibre solution at this moment,” Zhang is quoted as saying. “We need to talk about the long term impact, it takes time, it takes months.

 “We believe it is important to wait until all the facts and implications are known. Now is not the time to be hasty in making such a crucial decision about Huawei.”

Mobile operators argue any ban would be disruptive as it would cause delays to 5G rollout, increase costs and lower innovation – ultimately harming consumers and businesses and the UK’s post-coronavirus, post-Brexit economy. Meanwhile, Huawei has launched a media campaign that looked to dispel myths about the company and to promote its ability to deliver 5G.

Via Reuters

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.