Britain okays Huawei’s role in 5G network but adds ‘tight restrictions’

FILE PHOTO: Logos of Huawei are pictured outside its shop in Beijing, China, February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo

The UK government will allow Chinese tech giant Huawei to play a limited role in supplying the country’s 5G networks.

The decision follows a meeting between UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the National Security Council, which outlined security requirements so-called high-risk vendors must adhere to.

Without naming Huawei, the government in a statement said high-risk vendors will be excluded from all safety-related and -critical networks; from core functions of the networks; and from sensitive locations such as nuclear sites and military bases.

Huawei’s involvement in non-sensitive parts of networks will be limited to a “minority presence” of no more than 35 percent in the access network, which connects devices and equipment to mobile phone masts.

Commenting on the decision in a statement, digital secretary Baroness Morgan said: “The government has reviewed the supply chain for telecoms networks and concluded today it is necessary to have tight restrictions on the presence of high-risk vendors.

Johnson’s decision to allow Huawei to continue participating in 5G rollouts in the country could potentially spark a row with the US, which pushed for the UK and other nations to follow its lead by banning the vendor on national security grounds.

Following the announcement, Huawei’s VP Victor Zhang stated the company was “reassured by the UK’s government’s decision”, which he added would help keep 5G rollout in the country 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,” Zhang added.