UK’s Huawei Decision Will Be Affected By US – Minister

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Digital government, GDS

As mobile operators pressure the government to make a decision on Huawei, a minister admits Us views are a factor

There was potentially bad news for Huawei Technologies this week when a British minister admitted that the UK would factor in the view of the United States, when it makes its Huawei 5G decision.

British digital minister Jeremy Wright reportedly said on Thursday that cannot disregard American restrictions on China’s Huawei when it decides what equipment makers can participate in the roll-out of 5G networks.

Earlier this week a number of mobile operators in the UK had written a letter demanding a firm decision from the Government over whether equipment from Huawei Technologies can be used in their 5G networks.

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US factor

And the UK government has signalled it may have to bow to the restrictions placed on Huawei by the United States.

“I don’t think it would be realistic not to recognize that, when you have a hugely interconnected sector, when you have a situation where even Huawei equipment has US componentry and IP in it, you can’t disregard what the US administration decide to do,” Wright was quoted as saying by Reuters.

“They are all factors to be considered and we are considering them,” said Wright.

Wright said until a final decision is made, UK’s mobile operators should show “all due caution” when deciding whether to launch 5G services based on Huawei equipment.

British decision

In mid April it had been leaked to a British newspaper that the UK’s secretative National Security Council (NSC) had agreed to allow Huawei limited access to help build parts of the network such as antennas and other “non-core” infrastructure.

But that did not impress the UK’s closest ally, who immediately warned that Washington did not see a difference between core and non-core parts of a 5G network.

There has been intense lobbying efforts by the United States to pressure its allies to ban Huawei and other Chinese suppliers from participating in the build-out of 5G networks.

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has previously warned allies that “America may not be able to operate in certain environments if there is Huawei technology adjacent to that”.

Huawei for its part has always insisted that that it poses no security threat to any of its customers.

The final British decision was expected to have happened by now, but Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to step down as PM has stalled the decision, which is now only expected to be made when she leaves office in late July.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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