Major telecom operators are urging the Government to clarify the UK’s position on Chinese giant Huawei, claiming that uncertainty could harm Britain’s chances of being a world leader in 5G.
Operators say they can’t invest in infrastructure while uncertainty over the use of Chinese technology persists. They are concerned about the government’s inability to decide whether Huawei technology will be approved for use in new 5G networks.
The ban last month effectively bars US firms from selling to the company without government approval. The action was part of the broader trade dispute between China and the US, which has accused Chinese technology companies such as Huawei of stealing trade secrets and threatening cybersecurity – possibly at the behest of the ruling Communist Party.
Chinese authorities say the United States is exaggerating security concerns to block a potential competitor. Huawei has denied it would share user secrets with the Chinese government and demanded that the US provide evidence to show that such a risk exists. Earlier, it insisted that the trade friction with Washington was not taking much of a toll on its global business.
But US officials have made it their mission to persuade other governments to avoid working with Huawei, warning that Washington might not share sensitive information with allies if they are using Huawei equipment and networks that Washington suspects could be compromised.
Telecoms companies have been under increased pressure to decide whether Huawei will be a part of planned 5G network rollouts planned for this year.
Vodafone will turn on its 5G service in the UK in July, and plans to use equipment supplied by Huawei, however, Vodafone has also announced it is suspending orders of Huawei 5G handsets, which is considered as a big blow to Huawei as ARM also may suspend ties with them.
Huawei has found itself on the front line of a trade war between the US and China. This move has marked an escalation in trade tensions between the US and China, which has sent shockwaves through the supply chain, as a string of tech firms have suspended trading with the Chinese company.