The UK could follow the lead of other countries and remove Huawei hardware from its mobile networks after it finishes a Supply Chain Review that ensures security and resilience. The UK and Huawei had previously come to an agreement at the end of last year which saw Huawei pledge billions in order to address issues the government had, but this could have been in vain if the review goes against the Chinese firm.
UK firms building their 5G networks have used Huawei hardware within their networks because it has more R&D engineers than other suppliers, and because they will innovate for a specific customer, according to one technology chief speaking to the BBC. The firms say they’ve only used Huawei hardware in the least sensitive areas of their networks in order to minimise any risk to customer data. Additionally, different hardware providers have been used throughout the network on the advice of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) in order to boost security.
The Supply Chain Review, which is being led by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is due to report its analysis sometime in March or April. All the operators who spoke to the BBC said they want to see Huawei be allowed to continue providing hardware for UK networks and warned of serious consequences if the firm is banned.
One source said that if Huawei is shut out, the rollout of 5G could be set back by 12 to 18 months while firms test different vendors’ hardware and deploy them around the country. It also warned costs could be higher for consumers. Europe as a whole is ahead of the USA right now when it comes to 5G, but shutting out Huawei could lead to the advantage being lost.
Source: BBC News