Huawei gets 'green light' to operate in UK 5G networks with restricted role

Updated: Feb 3, 2020

The British government has given mobile giant Huawei the go-ahead, to continue operating in their 5G network space but with restrictions.

The UK National Security Council (NSC), has limited the Chinese company to a market share of 35 per cent, despite pressure from the US to block it. The deal will exclude its equipment from the sensitive network “core”.

Donald Trump's administration had given several warnings about the security risks in the run-up to the decision, but was preparing to be more open-minded after a phone call between Boris Johnson and Mr Trump on Tuesday afternoon.

The US are said to be "disappointed" with the decision to allow "an untrusted vendor" into the UK market, however, believe the security and economic relationship between the two countries was too important to be destabilised by the mobile operator.

The Chinese firm will be excluded from areas near military bases and nuclear sites.

Huawei was formally deemed a “high risk vendor” because there are theories that its Chinese ownership could mean that Beijing could force it to carry out surveillance of British citizens in the future.

Nicky Morgan, UK digital and culture secretary, said that world-class connectivity “must not be at the expense of our national security”.

Ms Morgan said that high-risk vendors never have been and never will be in our most sensitive networks.

She added: “This decision not only paves the way for secure and resilient networks, with our sovereignty over data protected, but it also builds on our strategy to develop a diversity of suppliers.”

Downing Street said that the prime minister underlined the importance of like-minded countries working together to diversify the market and break the dominance of a small number of companies.

Huawei welcomed the UK government's decision, saying it would keep the roll-out of 5G technology on track.

Victor Zhang,Huawei vice-president said: "This evidence-based decision will result in a more advanced, more secure and more cost-effective telecoms infrastructure that is fit for the future."

He added that it will give the UK access to world-leading technology and ensure a competitive market.

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