UK also mulling to phase out Huawei's 5G network equipment
A few days ago, the US declared Chinese giants Huawei and ZTE "national security threats" and barred its telcos from buying network equipment from them. Now, going by the latest reports, the UK also appears to be heading in the same direction and mulling phasing out the use of Huawei's equipment for its 5G network infrastructure. Here's all you need to know about it.
According to a report in The Sunday Telegraph, the UK's Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce policy changes to end the use of Huawei's technology in the country's 5G network. The move is expected due to security concerns, which have been identified by the country's state intelligence agency during its recent re-assessment of the Chinese technology company.
The risk assessment study will reportedly conclude that Huawei's 5G gear could include "untrusted" technology. Specifically, it will note that US sanctions barring Huawei from the use of tech relying on American intellectual property have severely impacted the Chinese company and will force it to use unreliable technology that could not just create security risks but also make them impossible to control.
The study will be presented to PM Johnson this week but the work to phase out the tech from the Chinese company has already begun. Officials have started creating proposals to prevent the installation of new 5G equipment from Huawei in six months as well as to speed up the removal of the gear that has already been used.
Oliver Dowden, the UK's Secretary of State for Culture, Media, and Sport, is expected to advise Johnson on the matter when the study is presented. Dowden had previously said that Huawei will not be included in the UK's 5G network infrastructure in the long run and welcomed the network technology of vendors like Japan's NEC Corp. and South Korea's Samsung.
If the plan to phase out Huawei is announced, the UK will join other countries that have sidelined Chinese telecom gear providers over security concerns. China's equipment is cheaper than foreign counterparts but concerns around the existence of security backdoors have made governments skeptical. Along with the US, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Taiwan have also kept Chinese players out of 5G deployment.
Not to mention, amid heightened border tensions with China, India could also take a similar move and keep Chinese companies out of its 5G roll-out plan. The country has already instructed state-run telcos BSNL and MTNL to ditch Chinese equipment from their 4G upgrade plans.