UK government allows Huawei a role in its 5G network

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

The Chinese giant will be banned from supplying equipment for the “core,” or sensitive areas, of the network. Additionally, Huawei will have a limited presence of no more than 35 percent of the network’s periphery, which includes radio masts, and it is prohibited from operating at locations such as nuclear and military facilities.

Even though the UK is allowing Huawei limited access, it still designated the firm a “high-risk vendor.” It seems there was little alternative other than to use the company—The Guardian writes that officials feared a ban would have delayed the 5G rollout by two to three years and affected economic growth. Beijing had warned of “substantial” repercussions to trade and investment plans had Huawei been banned outright.

“Our world-leading cyber-security experts know more about Huawei than any country in the world – and they are satisfied that with our tough approach and regulatory regime, any risks can be managed,” said a government source.

Back in April 2019, the US warned that it could cut intelligence ties with the UK if it used Huawei’s 5G tech. The announcement will likely strain ties between the Trump administration and Boris Johnson’s government. Former Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich, called the decision a “strategic defeat” for America.

As noted by the BBC, Three out of four of the UK's mobile networks had already decided to use and deploy Huawei's 5G products in the periphery.

“Huawei is reassured by the UK government's confirmation that we can continue working with our customers to keep the 5G rollout on track,” said Huawei’s UK chief Victor Zhang, in a statement. “It gives the UK access to world-leading technology and ensures a competitive market.”

In May last year, former UK Prime Minister Theresa May fired defense secretary Gavin Williamson for allegedly leaking details of a National Security Council meeting regarding Huawei and its role in the UK’s 5G network.

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stansfield

TS Booster
Stupid decision, Huawei are highly connected to a totalitarian Chinese government and even have their own intelligence agents on their workforce. No information would be safe and backdoors everywhere.
 
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Vulcanproject

TS Evangelist
The British undoubtedly consulted at GCHQ for this decision. GCHQ is the most sophisticated surveillance operation in Europe. The USA love it because they get fed plenty. The NSA throws money at it. They break as many privacy laws as American data gathering agencies. Best buddies.

If they have confidence they can secure the network I don't think that the scaremongering by the Trump administration is warranted. The ground rules have been outlined there. No critical pieces will be Huawei tech, no Huawei tech will be able to operate anywhere near sensitive areas and overall there is a strict limit on the amount of the network that can be built from it.

They seem like reasonable precautions.

The motivations for banning Huawei in totality extend far beyond security concerns. I think they are primarily economic. The USA is really fearful that a Chinese company is capable of beating up domestic efforts to develop and sell 5G technologies worldwide. The pure dread that the internet of the future will not be powered (also read: controlled) by American tech, and that the phones and devices that connect to it will not be American tech. It will be Chinese. This seems almost inevitable, but history has shown the old empire flails all the same as the light dims.

There is plenty of paranoia on display here. Ultimately economic concerns in the rest of the world will override security claims that haven't really been well proven. Because if they were this wouldn't even be happening. The USA just doesn't have the influence it once had in Europe to veto either. So many western nations and U.S allies are still happily dealing with Huawei, and that doesn't look like changing with an announcement like this.

Expect Germany to follow a similar path. With the Germans and British (two largest European economies, two biggest U.S partners in the region) on board that would be enough to signal other poorer, less powerful U.S allies they can comfortably defy U.S demands.
 
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Capaill

TS Evangelist
Ultimately economic concerns in the rest of the world will override security claims that haven't really been well proven.
I agree with everything you said but especially this. Economic concerns > everything else. That's how the world's businesses work. And the harsh reality is that Huawei have beaten all other vendors in getting 5G available. If America wants to counter the Chinese, they need to do it by becoming better than them, faster than them, cheaper than them. Or else prove, without a doubt, why the Chinese options are not worth the investment and worthy of a delay in waiting for other telecoms vendors to catch up.
 

10thDmenxn

TS Member
This is a HUGE MISTAKE by the UK. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER allow China into communications of your country!!!! You are putting all of your citizens into jeopardy. So even if you are keeping them away from vital governmental areas, which I highly doubt you realize their capabilities, then you are still putting your citizens information in jeopardy. I will NEVER buy another product from China that is an electronic device. NEVER!!! They are NOT to be trusted with anything!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

10thDmenxn

TS Member
I agree with everything you said but especially this. Economic concerns > everything else. That's how the world's businesses work. And the harsh reality is that Huawei have beaten all other vendors in getting 5G available. If America wants to counter the Chinese, they need to do it by becoming better than them, faster than them, cheaper than them. Or else prove, without a doubt, why the Chinese options are not worth the investment and worthy of a delay in waiting for other telecoms vendors to catch up.
Sorry, but this is extremely shallow thinking. The Chinese have the cheapest labor on earth, and a larger number of workers than any other country. So you are NOT going to beat them on price, EVER!!! Next, the Chinese know that so many will relent to economic pressures, and therefore allow them into their communications structures. Which allows them to steal, cheat and dominate other countries. And the evidence against Several Chinese companies, including Huawei, was incontrovertible. It wasn't hearsay, as you sort of imply. It was strong enough for 18 major countries to ban Huawei, and four other large Chinese companies from doing business with their country. I lived in China for many years, and in Taiwan for many more. They are the MOST corrupt country on the planet. The things they do is rarely seen or reported by other countries, because of fear of repercussions. So downplaying the dangers of dealing with the Chinese is a grave mistake, as they have made themselves extremely clear about taking down America. And whether you realize it or not, that would effect you, and every other citizen in this country in a horrible way.
 

Ravalo

TS Addict
This is a HUGE MISTAKE by the UK. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER allow China into communications of your country!!!! You are putting all of your citizens into jeopardy. So even if you are keeping them away from vital governmental areas, which I highly doubt you realize their capabilities, then you are still putting your citizens information in jeopardy. I will NEVER buy another product from China that is an electronic device. NEVER!!! They are NOT to be trusted with anything!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Most keyboards and gpus are made in china ._.
 

Vulcanproject

TS Evangelist
I agree with everything you said but especially this. Economic concerns > everything else. That's how the world's businesses work. And the harsh reality is that Huawei have beaten all other vendors in getting 5G available. If America wants to counter the Chinese, they need to do it by becoming better than them, faster than them, cheaper than them. Or else prove, without a doubt, why the Chinese options are not worth the investment and worthy of a delay in waiting for other telecoms vendors to catch up.
It's a simple fact the U.S are years behind Huawei and other foreign suppliers in 5G technology. There is no U.S manufacturer of 5G network gear. Period.

Are developed countries supposed to sit around and twiddle their thumbs waiting for U.S firms to catch up? Or delay years until they have heavily subsidised someone else besides Huawei to build a complete and functioning true next generation network? Unrealistic.

The economic gains to having a network built quickly and at reasonable cost with proven technologies is far too big to resist. Enormous potential as the IoT takes off. France, now Britain and likely soon Germany will turn to China to get a decent chunk of it done. That would be the three top European economies, ones that could actually resist and waste billions waiting if they absolutely had to. But they won't, and other countries with less financial power certainly won't. South Africa for example.

The U.S can no longer just wag it's finger without presenting hard evidence and expect even the closest of allies to tow the line. The Trump administration has made it very clear it is all about the USA, and these kind of decisions are the end result of those policies. Most nations will go their own way, and lean East if that is the way the wind blows.
 
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umbala

TS Guru
So downplaying the dangers of dealing with the Chinese is a grave mistake, as they have made themselves extremely clear about taking down America.
I find it amusing how comments like yours always boil down to this; America = GOOD, China = EVIL. But perhaps you should sit for a minute and consider that in the past, let's say ~3 years, many people and countries in the world started seeing the USA as a bigger threat than some of these communist regimes. Maybe if the USA wants their allies to remain allies they should consider electing people to run their country who have a higher IQ than a toilet seat cover.

PS. - It's very telling when America's closest allies basically says "Yeah, we heard your warnings about China, but we're doing our own thing, thanks."
 

Bubbajim

TechSpot Staff
Staff member
If the government in my country thinks they can successfully contain any nefarious actions by Huawei, why are there bans in place? Why are the positions and the overall volume of the infrastructure limited?

The British public has long known the acronym "NIMBY" - 'not in my back yard' - for we are a nation that likes the sound of some things, just not when *we* have to deal with them. Turbines to turn wind energy into green electricity? Great! Near me? Oh not a chance! Facial recognition to catch identify the plebs? Great! In my town? Oh not a chance!

This 5G roll-out smacks of governmental NIMBY-ism. Huawei can be involved in the infrastructure for the peasants, but by the power of Boris it best not go near governmental interests!

Also, I think that anyone reading this as an anti-American decision has got the emphasis a bit wrong. This decision going against U.S. interests is by-the-by, the thing for the UK government for the last 20 years has been Please China. China's ownership of formerly British assets and infrastructure is absolutely staggering. There was no way in the face of recent moves towards isolationism that Britain was going to ban a Chinese company from an infrastructure project this big.
 

Burty117

TechSpot Chancellor
The British public has long known the acronym "NIMBY" - 'not in my back yard' - for we are a nation that likes the sound of some things, just not when *we* have to deal with them. Turbines to turn wind energy into green electricity? Great! Near me? Oh not a chance! Facial recognition to catch identify the plebs? Great! In my town? Oh not a chance!
I met up with a friend who also works in IT recently, He has a client near Exeter and they asked why they couldn't get FTTC (VDSL) and it was because they petitioned against BT upgrading their local exchange as it would have required digging up the road...

So they asked "Well what about 4G or how about that new 5G?", Turns out the whole village signed a petition to stop EE, o2, Three, Vodafone etc... from building anymore infrastructure as it was "destroying the local view and required digging up roads and fields"...

Seriously, some people here are just dumb...
 
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10thDmenxn

TS Member
Most keyboards and gpus are made in china ._.
All the more reason to be more vigilant about such devices, and buy as an informed consumer, and not some goof doing whatever the media tells them to do. Group think is killing his country, because most people react to things without thinking for themselves. I'm not trying to be a revolutionary here. But just saying, a little homework and common sense go a long way.
 

neeyik

TS Evangelist
Staff member
There was no way in the face of recent moves towards isolationism that Britain was going to ban a Chinese company from an infrastructure project this big.
Given that the UK has been using Huawei products in the telephone and broadband infrastructure for some time now, it was never really on the cards to begin with.
 
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Edito

TS Addict
Stupid decision, Huawei are highly connected to a totalitarian Chinese government and even have their own intelligence agents on their workforce. No information would be safe and backdoors everywhere.
Just like with every single provider... the world is used to be spoiled by the USA it's simple as that and the USA is used the be the only who spoils... now hummm the tides are changing and they are panicking...
 

Squid Surprise

TS Evangelist
Just like with every single provider... the world is used to be spoiled by the USA it's simple as that and the USA is used the be the only who spoils... now hummm the tides are changing and they are panicking...
While there is no doubt that the USA was not exactly a "benevolent overlord" to many nations... at least they were somewhat accountable to their people being a democracy...

Having everyone beholden to China, instead, who have zero accountability to anyone, doesn't exactly fill me with optimism for the future.
 

Edito

TS Addict
While there is no doubt that the USA was not exactly a "benevolent overlord" to many nations... at least they were somewhat accountable to their people being a democracy...

Having everyone beholden to China, instead, who have zero accountability to anyone, doesn't exactly fill me with optimism for the future.
Let's see how it turns out... We don't know about that and about USA being accountable humm it's not as straight forward as it sounds to be...