Two different committees in the United Kingdom last week issued their positions regarding the rollout of Huawei 5G technology within U.K. wireless networks (via EET Asia). Both committees agreed there is no technical reason to avoid using Huawei products in those networks.
However, both committees also agreed there are geopolitical as well as ethical problems with using Huawei 5G tech. These issues, though, are unrelated to the efficacy and safety of those products.
The announcement of these conclusions follows several intense hearings with nearly 250 questions asked of representatives from prominent U.K. telecom providers and operators as well as academics involved in 5G research. Reps from Huawei, Nokia, Ericsson, BT, Vodafone, O2 and Three were involved, as well as people from the University of Surrey, University of Oxford, and Munich University of Applied Sciences.
A leader of one of the committees also added, “The benefits of 5G are clear and the removal of Huawei from the current or future networks could cause significant delays.”
Now, it is up to the U.K. government to decide what to do. It will need to take into consideration that electing to use Huawei 5G equipment in any network infrastructure could disrupt political relationships with other countries, especially the United States.
Huawei is on the U.S. government’s Entity List, which effectively bars the company from conducting most business with U.S.-based companies or using U.S.-based products in its own products. It is very likely the Trump Administration would see a U.K. rollout of Huawei 5G equipment as an affront to the reasoning behind that ban.
The U.K. government will also need to look at the ethical quandaries at hand. Very recently, for example, information came to light that suggests Huawei has been assisting North Korea in building out that countries wireless network, which would be a violation of several international trade laws.
There is no apparent date set for the U.K. government to release a decision on the matter, but the two committees in question urged haste as the rollout of 5G in the U.K. is already behind other nations.