Huawei 5G equipment allowed, but excluded from the ‘core’ . . .
The U.K. government announced on Tuesday that it will allow limited use of Huawei equipment in Britain’s 5G infrastructure despite security concerns and the pressure from the United States. Huawei will be allowed to supply ‘peripheral equipment,’ limited to 35 per cent of the U.K.’s 5G infrastructure, but excluded from sensitive ‘core’ areas due to security concerns. British Digital Secretary Sally Morgan emphasized that the decision is “a U.K.-specific solution for U.K.-specific reasons.”
The politics of Huawei 5G . . .
Huawei is a clear leader in the telecom equipment industry with 29 per cent of the global market share. Many have raised concerns over Huawei’s relationship with Beijing, however, emphasizing the state support for the company, which allegedly has provided an unfair advantage in the global market. Critics have also pointed to Beijing’s close leash on its companies – especially through the National Intelligence Law that could be used to obtain sensitive data through the telecom equipment that Huawei has provided around the world. Amid the current trade war, Washington has intensified its campaign to exclude Huawei from international 5G networks. In turn, China has made it clear that any country’s ban on Huawei would undermine bilateral relations – diplomatic and commercial.
Transatlantic relations, Five Eyes, and Canada . . .
The U.K. government’s decision undermines the U.S. campaign against Huawei, and shows Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s intent to maintain positive ties with China. Two ‘Five Eyes’ allies – Australia and New Zealand – have banned Huawei, but Germany is expected to follow the U.K.’s middle-of-the-road approach. Today, the European Union released its 5G ‘toolbox’ that recommends member states exclude ‘high risk’ suppliers from the core areas of 5G networks. Canada, facing its own challenges with Beijing, has delayed making a decision. The costs and benefits of the U.K.’s decision will emerge in the near future. For now, the decision to partially allow Huawei 5G shows Canada that its options are not limited to either a complete ban or a potential security breach and presents a third path forward – which may be precisely what Ottawa needs today.
- Globe and Mail: Ottawa says geopolitical considerations a factor in Huawei 5G decision
- Nikkei Asian Review: UK allows limited role for China's Huawei in 5G networks
- Reuters: Canada, isolated over Huawei 5G, is studying British decision