Vodafone and BT to back Hauwei for 5G in the UK

Published: 19 January 2020 - 5 a.m.
By: CommsMEA staff writer

Senior officials from Vodafone and BT Group are expected to come out in support of Huawei as the UK government continues to be put under relentless pressure by its US counterparts to ban the Chinese tech giant from its 5G networks.

A report in the Daily Mail suggested that senior figures from the UK’s two largest telcos would lobby the government to allow them to continue working with the world’s biggest 5G vendor.

The US has repeatedly stated that Huawei’s 5G network infrastructure poses a threat to its national security and has threatened to withhold crucial intelligence from any of its allies who allow Huawei to be a part of their 5G network infrastructure.

The US has yet to show any proof that Huawei’s networks are any more susceptible to hacking than any of its competitors and the Chinese firm remains adamant that the US allegations are merely a play in their protracted trade war with the Chinese government.

Huawei has a near 35 per cent share of the UK’s 4G networks and was a key launch partner for 5G with all four of the UK’s mobile network operators.

As non-standalone 5G is built on top of existing 4G network architecture, any ban on Huawei for 5G would cause enormous problems for UK telcos who would then have to spend hundreds of millions of pounds stripping out and replacing Huawei equipment from their existing networks.

This would inevitably cost the UK its early leadership position in Europe on 5G and would seriously hamper the country’s own digital transformation targets.

The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, is said to be comfortable with the idea of letting Huawei continue to be involved in the Radio Access Portion of the network but would not be prepared to let Huawei into the core of the network.

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