UK Looks Back on Huawei ‘s Involvement in 5G Networks


Reports from London over the weekend said the UK government is expected to backtrack on its January decision to allow Huawei to become active in 5 G networks across the country.

That decision had limited Huawei to a maximum of 35 per cent of all radio equipment used and prevented the Chinese giant from supplying any equipment in the core network. In addition, it mandated not to use Huawei equipment at sensitive locations such as nuclear sites and military bases.

“The government is certain that these measures, taken together, will enable us to mitigate the potential risk posed by the supply chain and to combat the range of threats, whether cybercriminals or state-sponsored attacks,” the UK decision said.

However, reports in the UK on Sunday said the latest round of sanctions on the use of semiconductors hitting the company via the United States, combined with 59 members of parliament signing up to an anti-Huawei group that is set to cross the floor to vote against legislation formalizing the January decision, has led to Westminster changing course.

The reports said the UK National Cyber Security Agency will be undertaking a review which is expected to result in Huawei being booted from 5 G networks across the country.

“In January, the government decided to approve our part in the 5 G rollout, because Britain needs the best possible technologies, more choice, innovation and more suppliers, all of which means more secure and resilient networks,” Huawei ‘s UK branch tweeted in response to the development.

“Our goal was to help mobile and broadband providers stay connected to Britain which has been more important than ever in this ongoing health crisis. This is our proven track record.”

Huawei Australia has pushed to have its ban overturned off the back of the UK ‘s decision, but both major parties in the country squashed any talk of that as soon as it appeared.

“They are a high risk provider,” said Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton in January. “We’ve been very explicit about it.

Speaking earlier that month to BBC Radio 4, former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the ban was about ensuring availability, not interception concerns.

“It’s not a matter of saying that Huawei is doing bad things right now? The real question is not to look for a smoking weapon, but to ask if it’s a loaded weapon, and if you want to have that chance,” Turnbull told the BBC.

Turnbull added that it was a question of whether a nation wished to give China the ability to interfere in the form of 5 G and the Internet of Things with “one of the most fundamental technological platform forms of your modern economy”

“Actually, the problem is not so much an interception problem,” he said. “Because end-to – end encryption is increasingly meaning data that can be intercepted can not be read.”

In 2012, long before it was deemed trendy to block Huawei in Washington, Australia banned the maker of Chinese telco equipment from developing its national broadband network. Therefore, it was no surprise to see Australia extend the ban six years later to 5 G equipment.

Last week, as a result of Australia ‘s ban on Huawei, Vodafone Australia said that if that equipment handles 5 G traffic it would need to replace the Huawei kit used in its transmission network.

Melina Richardson
Melina Richardson is a Cyber Security Enthusiast, Security Blogger, Technical Editor, Certified Ethical Hacker, Author at Cybers Guards. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter.