Home Government Tech Policy UK 5G telco review may increase scrutiny of Huawei
UK 5G telco review may increase scrutiny of Huawei Pixabay Featured

A British Government review of its telecommunications make-up, initiated in July, may affect the list of companies that supply 5G equipment for the rollout and could increase scrutiny of Chinese vendor Huawei Technologies.

In October, the government wrote to telcos, telling them that it was reviewing whether the country was too dependent on any one hardware supplier. Executives told  The Wall Street Journal that they read one thing into it: Huawei was the target.

Both Huawei and its Chinese counterpart ZTE Corporation were banned from participation in the Australian 5G rollout in August. The US put in place a ban on Huawei in 2017, having begun warning its Five Eyes partners about the company in 2012.

For its part, Huawei has repeatedly denied being in any way subject to Chinese Government orders over surveillance. In the UK, the company has a research lab that works with the National Centre for Cyber Security to evaluate any possible risks that are identified.

The Canadian Government recently snubbed an effort by two US politicians to push it to omit Huawei from involvement in the 5G rollout. And a prominent New Zealand telco, Spark, has said that it is advising the government not to ban any Chinese companies from playing a role in the country's 5G networks.

The British letter was sent by Matthew Gould, head of digital policy at the Department of Digital Culture, Media and Sport, and Ciaran Martin, head of the National Cyber Security Centre, and said the review was looking to make sure that the country's “critical national infrastructure remains resilient and secure”, the Financial Times reported.

No supplier was mentioned, but the letter said the "outcome of the review may lead to changes in the current rules” and that telco would "need to take the review into consideration in any procurement decisions”.

In July, a British report claimed Huawei equipment had technical and supply-chain issues that expose the UK's telco networks to new security issues.

The report, signed off by the country's Government Communications Headquarters spy agency, was released after it was told that UK security officials could now only offer limited assurances on the security of Huawei's UK operations.

iTWire has contacted Huawei for comment.


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.


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