United Kingdom mobile operators urge government clarification over Huawei

Clay Curtis
June 13, 2019

The frustration of British mobile operators over whether equipment from Huawei Technologies can be used in their 5G networks has spilled out into the open.

In a draft letter addressed to Cabinet Secretary Mark Sedwill, and seen by the BBC, telecoms leaders have requested a meeting with politicians to discuss their concerns following a United States ban on the company.

This is a development that will favor Huawei who has invested heavily in 5G and have a lot of equipment out of their store for these telecoms providers to purchase.

Fears have been raised that the company and its network equipment could be used by the Chinese state as a route to spy on the West - which Huawei has strongly denied - while the U.S. is pressuring allies to distance themselves from the firm.

China's ministries have issued licenses to China Broadcasting Network (CBN) and the China's top three telecom operators - China telecom (TC), China Mobile (CM) and China Unicom (CU). However, the details of the countries where the company has managed to obtain the contracts have not been revealed yet but it will soon be revealed.

Some countries like Australia and New Zealand, have blocked Huawei from supplying equipment for 5G telecommunication networks.

The Government has since said no decision has yet been made over Huawei's presence in 5G networks.

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"The security and resilience of the UK's telecoms networks is of paramount importance", a government spokesperson was quoted as saying by the BBC.

"I don't think we're complicit in anything, I believe that our objective is to understand the law and comply with the law, it's for others to make judgments", the UK Government's former chief IT adviser said.

In May, US President Donald Trump issued an executive order preventing "foreign adversaries" from accessing US technology without Government approval, which subsequently led Google to restrict Huawei's access to the Android operating system.

Vodafone also added: "We do not comment on draft documents".

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

Huawei says suggestions to the contrary are a smokescreen for frustrating China's attempts to emerge as a leading designer and provider of high tech equipment, rather than assembling the nuts and bolts of technology designed in the USA and Europe.

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