Speedy rollout of 5G could be hindered if national fears over Huawei security are not resolved
A nationwide rollout of 5G could be delayed if a full-scale ban on Huawei network equipment is enforced by the government next month.
The warning comes as Huawei faces a backlash and bans by global governments. It was charged last month by the US Justice Department for bank fraud, obstruction of justice and theft of technology. Huawei denies all allegations.
“Less than five per cent of our network uses Huawei and it’s not in our core network,” says an O2 spokesperson. “We take the security and protection of our networks seriously and work closely with the NCSC, GSMA and other government bodies to constantly review our security architecture.”
A Three spokesperson says: “We continue to work closely with Government and the NCSC on the issue, as we have throughout our recent procurement process, and will abide by any directions given by them.”
Huawei’s close links to the Chinese government have stirred suspicions that its telecoms equipment can be used as a back door into the networks of global operators. All four UK operators use Huawei infrastructure equipment.
Vodafone is the only UK operator to have stated that it will cease using Huawei for its core 5G network.
Digital minister Jeremy Wright said the government is reviewing telecoms Huawei backlash and bans may affect nationwide 5G deployment security, which could determine the fate of Huawei equipment use.
CCS Insight consumer and connectivity director Kester Mann said a ban on Huawei on the radio side could have a significant impact on the development of 5G in the UK.
IDC associate VP for European mobility research John Delaney doesn’t think a ban will delay the launch of 5G, but agrees that “it could lead to a slower rollout as a result of lack of competitive pricing for parts.”