UK officials propose "limited" 5G role for Huawei

Government set to ignore calls for a complete ban on the Chinese telecoms giant, according to reports


The UK is set to resist calls from the US to ban Huawei and offer the Chinese firm a "limited" role in its future 5G network. 

The recommendations were made on Wednesday at a meeting of officials from senior government departments and security agencies, according to Reuters sources, which also suggested the UK's National Security Council will make a final decision on Huawei next week.

The officials allegedly proposed barring Huawei from sensitive, data-heavy core parts of the UK's networks, keeping it away from customer and government information. 

The long-awaited decision has placed Boris Johnson's government in a difficult position as it weighs up security intelligence from US counterparts against the cost of excluding Huawei, the biggest provider of telecommunications technology.

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Last week, a delegation of US officials said using Huawei for 5G networks in Britain would be "madness". Johnson reportedly responded by saying: "If people oppose one brand or another then they have to tell us what is the alternative, right?"

Andrea Leadsom, the Minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy told Sky News that there are other alternatives to Huawei in the 5G space, but they're "limited".

"Ideally there would be more providers of infrastructure similar to the work that Huawei does but the UK is looking very carefully at this issue and we will be making a final decision soon," Leadsom said.

"It is an ongoing process and there are all sorts of factors to take into consideration as you say like the availability of other providers, like the work that Huawei already done in the United Kingdom, so these discussions are ongoing."

One of the biggest issues for the telecoms industry is the dominance of giants like Huawei, according to Steve Papa, CEO of Parallel Wireless, who said the company's technology is very hardware-centric and incompatible with other vendors technology "The industry needs backwards compatible solutions that unify all connectivity generations - something the US is now pursuing," Papa said. "The UK needs to prioritise developing a credible alternative, enabling businesses and consumers to realise the many benefits of 5G as soon as possible." 

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