Britain Dumps Huawei, Following Washington’s Lead

  • The import ban will take place from the end of this year.
  • In January, the British government had agreed to supply 35% of its needs for non-fifth-generation products from Huawei.
  • Some British cybersecurity officials believe that Huawei's removal from the fifth-generation network project does not necessarily strengthen Britain's national security.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that he will carry out the project of creating a fifth-generation (5G) network in this country without the support of the Chinese company Huawei. Johnson cannot afford to be neutral in the trade war between the United States and China.

Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is a Chinese multinational technology company, providing technological equipment and consumer electronics. It is the largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer in the world, and the second-largest smartphone manufacturer, behind Samsung. Huawei has been heavily criticized for cybersecurity concerns and surveillance usage by the Chinese government.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that a report from London announced a ban on the import of technology and Huawei products by British Telecom. According to the decision of the British Prime Minister, the import ban will take place from the end of this year.

In addition, other UK telecommunications companies have until 2027 to find alternatives to Huawei products and technologies. Boris Johnson is under intense pressure from US President Donald Trump, the agency added.

China, meanwhile, has warned the British government that it could risk billions of dollars in capital if it sided with the United States in a trade war between China and the United States.

Revising the Previous Decision

The new decision of the British government is practically due to the revision of this decision in January. At the time, the British government had agreed to supply 35% of its needs for non-fifth-generation products from Huawei.

Johnson’s government has now banned the Chinese company from importing and buying products from the new year, and has asked BT to find alternatives to the Chinese company’s products and technology.

In a speech to parliament, Oliver Dowden, Britain’s minister of digital communications, called the decision a difficult one for Britain. However, he stressed that the government had to make it in the interests of national security and economic requirements.

Cybersecurity

The United States considers the Chinese company, Huawei, to be a subsidiary of the Chinese Communist government, in the service of which it is spying. China denies espionage allegations, arguing that the US government intends to use it to its advantage in a trade war with China.

However, some British cybersecurity officials believe that Huawei’s removal from the fifth-generation network project does not necessarily strengthen Britain’s national security. They believe that Huawei’s removal from the network could delay the project by up to three years, and create an additional billion in costs for the government and telecommunications companies.

5G is the fifth generation wireless technology for digital cellular networks that began wide deployment in 2019. In addition to traditional mobile operator services, 5G NR also addresses specific requirements for private mobile networks ranging from industrial IoT to critical communications.

Attempts to Replace

A few years ago, then-British Prime Minister David Cameron announced that working with Huawei was the beginning of a “golden age” for British communications. Britain had tried to pave the way for Chinese investment in the country. The British government is now taking a different path.

Reacting to the British government’s decision, Huawei said it was due to the US trade war with China, and had nothing to do with security issues. A Huawei spokesman said the British government was not only slowing down access to the fifth-generation network but also incurring huge costs.

In addition, China has warned Britain that implementing such a decision could have a negative impact on other Chinese companies’ cooperation with Britain. The UK is working with Samsung, Nokia, and Ericsson to find alternatives to Huawei products and technology.

Dowden has said that the country, in cooperation with its allies such as Finland, Sweden, South Korea, and Japan, will try to find a competitor for Huawei in the field of products and technology of the fifth network.

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Benedict Kasigara

I have been working as a freelance editor/writer since 2006. My specialist subject is film and television having worked for over 10 years from 2005 during which time I was the editor of the BFI Film and Television.

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