Common sense prevails, as the UK gives Huawei the greenlight for 5G

Published: 28 January 2020 - 12:26 p.m.

The UK has said that it will allow Huawei to continue to play a role in constructing the country’s 5G networks, despite relentless pressure from the US government to ban the Chinese tech giant.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport confirmed that Huawei will be allowed to continue playing a key role in the country’s next generation network infrastructure, with a number of caveats.

A DCMS spokesperson stated that Huawei would be limited to a 35 per cent stake in each of the UK’s commercial 5G networks and would not be allowed to provide equipment for the networks core (as had been wdely expected to be the case - UK telcos are already excluding Huawei from thier 4G cores). This means that the UK’s mobile network operators will be free to use Huawei’s 5G base stations in their next generation networks.

The DCMS also stated that Huawei would be excluded from the private 5G networks in sensitive locations, such as nuclear power facilities and military bases.

Huawei's senior representative in the UK, Victor Zhang, told CommsMEA that the company was "reassured" by the government's decision.

"Huawei is reassured by the UK government’s confirmation that we can continue working with our customers to keep the 5G roll-out on track. This evidence-based decision will result in a more advanced, more secure and more cost-effective telecoms infrastructure that is fit for the future. It gives the UK access to world-leading technology and ensures a competitive market,” Huawei’s senior representative in the UK, Victor Zhang, told CommsMEA.

“We have supplied cutting-edge technology to telecoms operators in the UK for more than 15 years. We will build on this strong track record, supporting our customers as they invest in their 5G networks, boosting economic growth and helping the UK continue to compete globally.

“We agree a diverse vendor market and fair competition are essential for network reliability and innovation, as well as ensuring consumers have access to the best possible technology.”

The news will also be greeted with relief by the UK's mobile network operators, who would have been faced with a bill for hundreds of millions of pounds, had they been forced to strip out and replace the Huawei kit already in their fledgling 5G and established 4G networks.

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