The use of Huawei 5G hardware for UK networks has proved a divisive issue in the past few months.
People burning down 5G towers over absurd COVID-19 conspiracy theories aside, the UK government has been mulling over its decision to use hardware supplied by the Chinese firm for some time now, and a recently leaked report could see the country remove all of Huawei’s 5G tech by 2029.
The leaked report in this case comes from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which cited the recent sanctions imposed on Huawei by the United States.
It is not the claims of the US that the NCSC is looking into here for its recommendation, but rather the impact that sanctions would have, and in particular that it could result in Huawei turning to untrusted technology in order to deliver on its 5G objectives.
Part of the argument here makes sense, as the Chinese firm has been placed on the entity list by the United States, which has resulted in companies like Google not being able to sell Huawei technology.
Whether this would force the Chinese firm to turn to untrusted tech, however, is very much up for debate.
“If the U.S. imposes sanctions, which they have done, we believe that could have a significant impact on the reliability of Huawei equipment and when we can use it safely,” noted UK culture secretary, Oliver Dowden.
“If it’s appropriate to change policy, we’ll clearly make a statement to the House of Commons when we’ve been through that and made a decision,” he adds.
Dowden says he’ll make a statement to Huawei 5G to the UK’s House of Parliament on 22nd July. Based on what decision is taken then, it could see the government choose not to continue with its use of Huawei’s hardware for the rollout of its 5G network, which to date is capped at a 35 percent involvement.
With Huawei working frantically to rollout its 5G technology in other parts of the world, it remains to be seen what the greater impact of the US sanctions, and now the UK’s soon-to-be made decision, on the rest of the globe.
This is of particular interest here in South Africa, with Rain, Vodacom and MTN all rolling out some form of 5G connectivity locally, which has either used Huawei for testing or endpoint devices.