UK to Allow Huawei Into Its 5G Networks

Posted on April 24, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud with 23 Comments

Britain’s National Security Council has agreed to allow China-based Huawei to participate in the country’s 5G networking infrastructure. That said, Britain will block Huawei from “core” parts of the 5G network

As was first reported by The Telegraph, Huawei will “help build parts of the network such as antennas and other ‘non-core’ infrastructure.”

“We welcome reports that the UK government is moving towards allowing Huawei to help build the UK’s 5G networks,” a Huawei statement reads. “While we await a formal government announcement, we will continue work cooperatively with the government and the industry and their evidence-based approach to network security.”

Some are criticizing allowing Huawei, which is based in China but privately-owned, into governmental infrastructure.

“It still raises concerns,” Tom Tugendhat, the chairman of Britain’s Foreign Affairs Committee, told BBC Radio. “The definition of core and non-core is a very difficult one with 5G. [5G] does change from a faster internet system into an internet system that can genuinely connect everything, and therefore the distinction between non-core and core is much harder to make.”

The decision is also a rebuke to the U.S. government, which has pushed for its allies to block Huawei and other China-based tech giants from 5G networks around the globe. Too, the UK decision will likely be used as a template by other countries in the EU and elsewhere when it comes to working with Huawei.

The issue? Not everyone is convinced by the United States’ evidence-free arguments against Huawei. And the UK, in particular, has argued for security and engineering over the nationality of the company.

“When we analyze a company for their suitability to supply equipment to the UK’s telecoms networks, we are looking at the risk arising from their security and engineering processes as well as the way these technologies are deployed in our national telecom networks,” Jeremy Fleming, the head of Britain’s GCHQ spy agency said Wednesday. “A flag of origin of 5G equipment is important but it is a secondary factor.”

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