Chinese telecom gets nod in Britain, Norway, Germany . . .
After months of speculation, The Sunday Times has reported that the U.K. will allow Chinese telecom giant Huawei to build "non-contentious" parts of its 5G network. Similarly, Norway and Germany both recently announced they will not preemptively ban any companies from building parts of their next-generation networks. There are technical and commercial reasons for countries not to ban Huawei: it has a reputation for combining advanced technology, decent-quality equipment, and low prices. But by possibly allowing Huawei to build their 5G networks, will these countries put themselves squarely at odds with the U.S., which has been urging them to do the opposite?
What’s with 5G? . . .
5G is expected to play a huge role in technological innovation for years to come. It has been designed to enable significantly faster data transfer, more stable connections, upgraded network coverage in rural areas, and increased connectivity between devices. It has been referred to as the “central nervous system of the 21st-century economy.” And because of 5G’s potential to transform a number of industries, and due to the security implications associated with it, a race among nations, particularly the U.S. and China, has been heating up.
Canada’s pending decision . . .
So far, many more countries have welcomed Huawei than have banned it. Only Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and the U.S. have reportedly banned Huawei from building their 5G networks. The U.S. has been pressing its allies, especially the Five Eyes Nations (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the U.K.), not to let Huawei participate in building their 5G networks on the basis that it would undermine security. Meanwhile, Beijing has threatened retaliation for countries that comply with the U.S.’s request. The Trudeau government, which delayed the decision until after the federal election, will soon need to make a decision that will anger either Beijing or Washington, and that will have significant consequences for Canada’s economic development and competitiveness.
- Reuters: Boris Johnson set to grant Huawei access to UK's 5G network
- Seattle Times: The race for 5G and what you need to know
- Foreign Policy: Why Huawei isn’t so scary