The UK will phase out Huawei from the 5G network infrastructure

Several new reports have suggested that the UK government will remove Huawei from its 5G network infrastructure due to security concerns.

At a U-turn on Thursday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to formulate policy after reviewing the risks posed by the Chinese technology giant at the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). This would be a major step in Johnson’s position in early January 2020, where he confirmed that the UK would allow Huawei to play a limited role in the UK’s 5G network rollout.

An updated GHQQ report published by the Telegraph, which was immediately circulated by Bloomberg, claimed that ongoing US trade sanctions “would force the company to use unreliable technology that could increase UK risk.”

With even tougher and stricter restrictions now starting to bite Huawei incessantly, this report could certainly be a hammer blow. The Telegraph reports that the release of the report by media outlets may even “force Boris Johnson to leave the company altogether”.

Following these reports, the UK Government issued the following statement:

We are considering the impact of additional US sanctions against Huawei on UK networks. This is an ongoing process and we will update further as appropriate.

Huawei networking hardware was only used for the “non-core” components of the UK 5G network, accounting for about 35% of the total infrastructure. With very few companies able to match the Chinese firm’s rollout speed, Johnson argued that no viable alternative was found. Given that Huawei already has accounts for a large chunk of UK networking hardware, it seems strange that this decision has now been made.

“We are working closely with our customers to find ways to handle the proposed US sanctions,” Victor Zhang, vice president of Huawei, told Bloomberg. “We believe it is too early to determine the impact of the proposed restrictions, which is not about security, but about market position.”

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