United Kingdom phone firms demand clarity over Huawei

Evarado Alatorre
Junio 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.

The government's inability to decide whether Huawei technology will be used in the UK's 5G networks is affecting mobile companies' business, they wrote to abinet Secretary Mark Sedwill, the BBC reports.

Senior executives from EE-owner BT, O2, Three and Vodafone also gave evidence to the committee, unanimously agreeing that they believe any risk can be managed in certain elements of their networks, while also warning that a ban on Huawei's 5G equipment in the United Kingdom could delay deployment by years.

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 USA is pressuring allies to distance themselves from the firm.

But US officials have made it their mission to persuade other governments to avoid working with Huawei, warning that Washington might not share sensitive information with allies if they are using Huawei equipment and networks that the Washington suspects could be compromised.

Huawei reported earlier this month it has shipped more than 100,000 5G base stations to 46 countries, making it the top supplier of the next-generation wireless network infrastructure in the world.

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Vodafone has also announced it is suspending orders of Huawei 5G handsets.

Some countries like Australia and New Zealand, have blocked Huawei from supplying equipment for 5G telecommunication networks. To cement their place in the 5G race, China's three major carriers (China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telcom) have now been granted 5G licenses by the government. "We have been clear throughout the process that all network operators will need to comply with the government's decision".

The company's chief for cybersecurity, John Suffolk, stood before UK's members of Parliament yesterday to answer questions regarding the Chinese company's 5G business, USA allegations of facilitating espionage, and more.

Under the Chinese law, home-grown companies must support the state's intelligence work, which has raised fears of espionage.

The US government has already banned the use of Huawei technology after citing concerns that the company may present a security threat by allowing the Chinese government a way to snoop on critical infrastructure.

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