US senators urge UK rethink on Huawei and 5G

(Image credit: Future)

US senators have urged the UK to reconsider its decision to allow Huawei to play a role in the country’s rollout of 5G networks.

Huawei is a key supplier for all four major UK operators but its future role had been uncertain due to fears the use of its kit constituted a national security risk, a view pushed and shared by the US.

After a prolonged process, the government finally confirmed in January that Huawei equipment could be used in the radio layer of 5G networks but not in sensitive areas like the core – effectively preserving the status quo. However Huawei kit is subject to a 35 per cent cap.

Huawei UK 5G

This has displeased the US, which has said It doesn’t see the issue as resolved, as evidenced by this latest letter sent to the House of Commons by a group of 20 Republican and Democrat senators.

“Given the significant security, privacy, and economic threats posed by Huawei, we strongly urge the United Kingdom to revisit its recent decision, take steps to mitigate the risks of Huawei, and work in close partnership with the U.S. on such efforts going forward,” the letter said.

Chinese vendors have largely been excluded from the US market because of national security concerns, but the Trump administration has been increasingly hostile towards Huawei. 

The US has also placed significant pressure on its allies to follow its lead and ban Huawei, despite not providing any evidence to support its claims. The company has persistently denied any allegations of wrongdoing.

In the UK there is little appetite for a ban, with operators arguing innovation would decrease and costs would rise if they were barred from Huawei’s 5G gear.

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.