Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 20 September 2019

British mobile leaders urge the UK government for clarity on Huawei

Industry leaders send a joint letter to Cabinet Secretary Mark Sedwill

UK mobile industry leades cann on the government to provide clarity over Huawei. EPA
UK mobile industry leades cann on the government to provide clarity over Huawei. EPA

British mobile operators say the UK could lose its position as a world leader in wireless connectivity over the controversy of working with Huawei, the BBC reported.

Industry leaders sent a joint letter to Cabinet Secretary Mark Sedwill, which was seen by the BBC, requesting a meeting with the government to discuss concerns and clarify the country’s position on working with or buying from Huawei.

The urgent call comes amid reservations from telecom operators over whether to invest in infrastructure while there is uncertainty regarding Huawei’s fate as a technology supplier to the country.

Mobile operator EE said it has delayed selling Huawei’s 5G phones to consumers “until we get the information and confidence and the long-term security that our customers … are going to be supported”.

Vodafone has also put orders of Huawei 5G handsets on hold.

On Monday, Huawei faced questioning from UK officials over security concerns surrounding its 5G network, after details emerged from a confidential meeting of the UK’s National Security Council that the Chinese company could be approved for a limited role in developing Britain’s fifth-generation network.

The decision by the council was met with an immediate public backlash because of fears the companytechnology could be used by China to spy on the UK.

A report published last month by the British think tank Henry Jackson Society concluded that it is “high-to-certain that Huawei acts on behalf of China’s intelligence”.

Under the Chinese law, home-grown companies must support the state’s intelligence work, which has raised fears of espionage.

The US administration has hit Huawei with sanctions and banned American telecom companies from installing foreign-made equipment that could pose a threat to national security.

US President Donald Trump addressed his concerns about Huawei during his visit to the UK, but China’s biggest technology company shows little sign of slowing down. Huawei reported earlier this month it has shipped more than 100,000 5G base stations to 46 countries, making it the top supplier of the next-generation wireless network infrastructure in the world.

Last week, a report by telecoms lobby group GSMA, which represents the interests of more than 750 mobile operators across Europe, revealed that a ban on Huawei would add £48.7bn (Dh227.6bn) to the cost of installing 5G networks in Europe and delay the technology by about 18 months.

Updated: June 11, 2019 06:30 PM

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