Chinese technology mega-company Huawei will be one of the suppliers building the U.K.’s 5G networks. The decision follows lengthy delays, much indecision, and considerable pressure on Britain from the U.S. government to not use the firm’s telecom equipment at all.
The decision is hardly a shock, and neither is the middle-ground stance the government has taken. Huawei is the world leader in 5G infrastructure, and has worked with the U.K. on its networks for 15 years. But what about the supposed security implications of using Huawei’s equipment, and the risk of angering U.S. President Donald Trump, who claims Huawei is a conduit for the Chinese government, and that including its equipment opens the door to spying and potentially even cyberattacks?
Well, what else exactly was the U.K. to do? 5G has become such a bloated, over-hyped money pit that to get left behind at this juncture would be costly in the long-term. The U.K.’s decision to use Huawei to build parts of its
5G is here, and it’s early!
Have you heard about
You can buy 5G phones right now, if you really want to — at Mobile World Congress in February, we expect almost all manufacturers to announce
If you’re not 5G-capable in 2020, do you even exist?
Everyone is talking about
It’s not surprising though, as all those
It’s estimated that
5G makes the money go round
The IHS Market report, while generated by IHS, was actually commissioned by Qualcomm, a company that most definitely wants everyone to know the earnings potential in
It’s not the only one spending big either. In 2018, Samsung committed to spending $22 billion over three years on
These are all massive numbers. But to generate that $13 trillion in revenue, it’s us who will need to go into our local carrier store and sign up for a
Bad timing in the U.K.
The Huawei situation couldn’t have come at a worse time in the U.K. In 2016, then-Chancellor Phillip Hammond said during the national budget announcement that the plan was to make the U.K. a world leader in 5G, and pledged to spend $1 billion in doing so. By not using Huawei equipment — the acknowledged leader in
Research firm GlobalData said if the U.K. had forgone Huawei’s hardware, it would have set the U.K,’s
Add in the fact that Huawei’s
What about using other suppliers, and what about the security?
The U.K. will, and does, use other suppliers. There are several companies producing
What about security? Malcolm Taylor, who previously worked as an intelligence officer at the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and is now director of cybersecurity at ITC Secure, explained in an editorial for GlobalData’s The Verdict site why security wasn’t as large a concern as it’s made out to be.
“Firstly, the U.K.’s security apparatus – quite possibly the most conservative and risk-averse of all the machineries of government – reported that the Huawei risk was manageable. Second, the mitigations used to enable that risk management must make Huawei one of the most scrutinized companies in the world. Third, there is no hard evidence of any espionage using Huawei technology globally, and Huawei senior figures have made this point again, and again, and again. I hear you, this is no surprise, but go back to number one; the U.K.’s security apparatus believes the risk can be managed. What more do we need?”
Network operators BT and Vodafone also say they have no evidence of a security risk — something Huawei has repeatedly said itself — and the respective CEOs sent a letter to the prime minister saying a ban was unnecessary. Naturally, a ban would financially affect the networks too, and not in a positive way.
Not security, but money
Security is always a concern, but the fuss over Huawei, China, and
The Guardian’s Jeremy Warner sums up the motivations of the U.S. more bluntly than Rogers, writing: “Donald Trump’s America has no viable alternative to Huawei. Its position is entirely driven by fear of Chinese technological catch-up, which it has determined to thwart.”
In the U.K., according to sources quoted by Politico, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and top adviser Dominic Cummings say privately that “modern tech infrastructure is much more important to the pair’s vision for the U.K.’s future economy than trade with the U.S.,” referring to upcoming trade negotiations post-Brexit, and the decision to add Huawei to its
Billions and billions have been spent, and trillions are apparently at stake. Businesses and governments therefore need to ensure we are buying, and to do that, we need
The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Digital Trends.
- Huawei given the green light to build 5G network in U.K.
- What is 6G? It could make 5G look like 2G, but it’s not even close to reality
- The T-Mobile/Sprint merger: Everything you need to know
- Trump wants a backdoor into your iPhone. So do muggers, experts say
- U.S. may call a halt to its civilian drone program over security fears