The vendor had been poised to play a pivotal role in building the UK’s 5G networks
Huawei has said it will take its business where it feels welcome, as it hit out against the “unfair” and “targeted” restrictions it continues to face in the UK.
This follows a consultation launched by the UK government with telecoms players on proposed legal instruments to control the use of Huawei kit in UK networks, ahead of full removal by 2027.
The UK government cited a potential security risk as a reason for the proposals, with Huawei previously facing a range of US sanctions that included the removal of Google Mobile Services from its smartphones.
This has led to Huawei UK executive vice president Jeremy Thompson saying that the company is the victim of geopolitical issues, and that it has been treated unfairly and effectively squeezed out of the market.
“We feel bruised; it’s been tough”, Thompson told Mobile News. “We feel it’s unfair and we are disappointed how the UK government succumbed to the pressure from the US.
“We firmly reject that it’s a security issue and we think the whole thing has been heavily politicised. Thankfully, other countries, including the EU, have taken a different route to the UK. We’re still here, though, and still a big investor in this country with our existing operations, and we will be for some time. But as I say, we’ll go where we feel welcome.”
Huawei was due to play a key role in the UK’s 5G networks up until July 2020, before the government performed a U-turn to impose a full ban on Huawei’s equipment by 2027. Earlier, Huawei was given a reduced role, with a cap of 35 per cent market share in the access network.
“We could have lived with the January 2020 decision where we were given a 35 per cent market share cap,” said Thompson.
“But we were hugely disappointed by the decision that came in July, which put a guillotine on the involvement with 5G until 2027.”
Thompson reiterated that Huawei will continue to support its existing business in the UK, a market where the Chinese vendor has had a presence for 25 years.
“We’ve got great relationships with all the top telcos [in the UK], and these have got a lot of our kit within their networks. Our number-one priority is to support our existing customers, and the lifecycle for this equipment is quite long.”