Last week, a delegation from the U.S. visited Britain with evidence that supposedly showed why the country should heed U.S. warnings and refrain from using Huawei's networking gear in its 5G networks. The U.S. has warned its allies not to use Huawei's equipment because of a law in China that allows the government to demand that the company gather intelligence on its behalf. This law has led U.S. officials to push a conspiracy theory that Huawei's products contain a backdoor that sends purloined information to Beijing. Huawei has denied that such a backdoor exists and none has ever been found.
Japan and Australia heeded the warnings from the states while Germany did not. And Britain has been grappling with the issue. During their recent visit, the aforementioned U.S. officials told their British counterparts that allowing Huawei equipment in their 5G networks would be "nothing short of madness." The Guardian reports that Sir Mark Lyall Grant, former Prime Minister Theresa May’s national security adviser, believes that current Prime Minister Boris Johnson is leaning toward allowing Huawei equipment to be used in Britain's 5G networks. Sir Mark says that the country's security services came to the conclusion years ago that it would be able to handle any potential threats caused by the use of this equipment.
BT and Vodafone support the use of Huawei's equipment in the country's 5G network.
The former national security adviser told The Observer that "This has been gone into now by three different administrations, and I think the outcome is quite likely to be the same – that the intelligence agencies are expressing confidence that they can sufficiently mitigate any potential security threat to allow Huawei to continue to provide at least the non-core telecommunications equipment for 5G rollout. The government has developed an oversight mechanism that they are confident will work. Combine that with the fact that Huawei has more advanced technology than the alternatives, I think it is relatively likely that Boris Johnson will come to the same conclusion." Last week, Prime Minister Johnson rhetorically asked British critics of Huawei what alternatives the country has.
British carriers BT and Vodafone see no evidence to justify a total ban of Huawei's networking equipment
BT and Vodafone, two British wireless providers, are said to be drafting a letter to the Prime Minister explaining why they support the use of Huawei's equipment in the country's 5G networks. The carriers say that they have seen no evidence that justifies a total ban. And Victor Zhang, a Huawei executive, says that there is "no justification" for banning Huawei because of rumored cybersecurity threats. Zhang said, "After looking at the facts, we hope the government agrees – so that our customers can keep the UK’s 5G roll-out on track and meet the prime minister's promise of gigabit connectivity for all. Giving Huawei the go-ahead to continue supplying equipment will mean telecom companies have access to the best technology and the breadth of suppliers they need to build secure, resilient and reliable networks." The executive added that "Two UK parliamentary committees concluded there is no technical reason to ban us from supplying 5G equipment and this week the head of (security service) MI5 said there is 'no reason to think' the UK’s intelligence-sharing relationship with the U.S. would be harmed if Britain continued to use Huawei technology."
5G is the next generation of wireless connectivity and will deliver faster download data speeds (for now, up to 10 times faster than 4G LTE) that will support the creation of new technologies and industries. Developed nations throughout the world are in the process of building out their 5G networks. Huawei is the largest networking equipment company in the world and is supplying its gear for many of these projects. Thanks to its partnership with China's state-run bank, Huawei can offer its customers special financing terms that its rivals like Nokia and Ericsson can't match.
A final decision on whether Prime Minister Johnson will allow Huawei's equipment to be used in Britain's 5G networks is expected to be announced before the end of the month.