Huawei has said it will do anything it can to convince Western nations that its telecoms equipment does not represent a risk to national security.
In an interview with the FT (opens in new tab), Huawei’s president for Western Europe Vincent Peng said he believed additional scrutiny of the company’s involvement in 5G is indicative of a wider trend that will affect all suppliers – not just those from China.
He believes governments are taking greater interest in how these networks are built because they are becoming so important everyday life, business and national security. Peng said he wanted to foster greater trust of Huawei and that the firm would be willing to take action.
“Anything needed to do this transformation we are committed to do this. Restructure the organisation, rebuild the processes, rebuild the products,” he is quoted as saying. “Process, personal skills, engineering capability, anything.”
Huawei has effectively been frozen out of the US market, although it does provide equipment to a number of smaller players in the country, while Australia has banned its operators from using Huawei equipment in their 5G rollouts on national security grounds. It has also been reported that the US is urging its allies to take similar actions.
The main basis for these fears is a perception that Huawei is linked to the Chinese government and that the use of the company’s equipment risks the possibility of backdoors that could be used for espionage. These fears are heightened by 5G because of the sensitive information these networks will carry.
Huawei has repeatedly denied such accusations, pointing out that it works with security agencies around the world and that it sells products to more than 500 operators in 170 countries without issue. This includes the UK, where BT, EE, Vodafone and Three are all customers.
There will be little demand among operators for barriers to the use of Huawei kit as this would reduce choice, hinder innovation and increase costs. Last month, Huawei revealed it had shipped more than 10,000 5G base stations outside China and had signed 22 commercial 5G contracts with foreign operators.
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