British PM approves Huawei role in 5G network

British PM approves Huawei role in 5G network

Kerry Wise
April 25, 2019

Mobile phone companies say Huawei 5G equipment is much cheaper than that of rivals, and in some respects ahead of the competitors, principally Sweden's Ericsson and Finland's Nokia; and some security insiders say eliminating the firm would create an excessive reliance on a dwindling number of companies.

"Whatever decisions are ultimately reached on Huawei and announced, this whole agenda on working on improvements in standards and regulation to strengthen the security in these vital systems, I know this entire panel is passionate about".

The UK government is said to have agreed to let Chinese telecom kit maker Huawei join the building of non-core parts of the country's 5G network.

He said: "We need clarity on the risks and costs of a decision either way, and we need it now". At the same time it also said that "no material progress has been made by Huawei in the remediation of the issues".

"It isn't an open-and-shut case and it's important we review the advice properly and the Prime Minister and her closest advisers come to a decision based on that best quality advice".

Others, including the leadership candidates Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid, the foreign and home secretaries respectively, had raised concerns.

May's Downing Street office declined to comment on the story.

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But the former United States homeland security adviser Tom Bossert said: "I think it is a little overly rosy and optimistic to suspect that [risks] can be mitigated in new 5G infrastructure ..."

A statement from Huawei said that it was "pleased that the United Kingdom is continuing to take an evidence-based approach to its work, and we will continue to work cooperatively with the government, and the industry".

MI6 chief Alex Younger has said Britain needs to decide how "comfortable" it is in allowing Chinese firms to become involved while the head of GCHQ Jeremy Fleming has spoken of both "opportunities and threats" which they present.

The United States has however banned Huawei's 5G technology from its territory and urged allies in the so-called Five Eyes intelligence sharing collective - which also includes Australia, Britain, Canada and New Zealand - to follow suit.

The keen that Five Eyes members do not involve Huawei in 5G development, as it could afford the Chinese Communist Party regime a back door to spy on their activities.

A government spokesperson noted via email that the council's decisions are "confidential" and that the security of the country's telecoms network is "of paramount importance".

"As part of our plans to provide world class digital connectivity, including 5G, we have conducted a review of the supply chain to ensure a diverse and secure supply base, now and into the future", the spokeswoman said.