Huawei reassured by UK government on 5G roll-out

Huawei is reassured by the United Kingdom’s government confirmation to allow it to participate in the country’s 5G roll-out.

Victor Zhang, Vice-President, Huawei, said in a statement that “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.”

The British Government said on Tuesday that it will allow Huawei to build the country’s next generation of super-fast wireless networks, despite the United States’ threat that permitting Huawei equipment could undermine trade and intelligence ties with the US.

Zhang said Huawei has strong track record of supplying cutting-edge technology to telecoms operators in the UK for more than 15 years. It will continue with “supporting customers as they invest in their 5G networks, boosting economic growth and helping the UK continue to compete globally.”

The clear cyber security record of Huawei has been recognised by two parliamentary committees in UK; a country with the toughest oversight of our industry in the world, and the views of pre-eminent intelligence officials, all of whom agree there is no technical reason for excluding Huawei from UK’s 5G network.

British Government has full access to evaluate Huawei product ranges through Cyber Security and Evaluation Centre, opened in the country in 2010. The oversight board of the facility is chaired by the Chief Executive Officer of the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre with members from government including Government Communications Headquarters, as well as the UK telecommunications sector.

Responding to the decision on excluding Huawei from core network, the spokesperson said Huawei has not been invited to bid for any of the core network contracts for the 5G networks in the UK. “Our focus remains the supply of world leading radio products where we have an established position in the UK market.”

Zhang added that Huawei agrees a diverse vendor market and fair competition are essential for network reliability and innovation, as well as ensuring consumers have access to the best possible technology.

Many share the sentiment that cutting competition by a reduction to just two vendor choices, cannot be good for the market and consumers, neither helpful to strengthening resilience of telecoms networks that UK government describes as “of paramount importance”.

Dexter Thillien, a senior TMT analyst at Fitch Solutions, told CNBC that “Three is better than two,” he said, “If you ban Huawei, you have a choice between Ericsson and Nokia. You lack competition.”

A study by Mobile UK shows that excluding Huawei would cost the UK economy £7bn and result in more expensive 5G networks, raising prices for anyone with a mobile device.

Across the European Union, no government has yet imposed an outright ban on Huawei. Operators warn that banning Huawei may add years of delays and billions in costs to European countries’ 5G network launch.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said last week that ‘diversification is crucial to ensuring a country’s security in the roll-out of 5G mobile technology and shunning one supplier altogether risks being counterproductive.’

Zhang said Huawei’s focus will remain ‘supplying our customers with secure, reliable equipment so we maintain their support and continue to help create jobs and prosperity in the UK.’

Huawei stimulated a £1.7 bn contribution to UK GDP in 2018 alone, according to a research by Oxford Economics.

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