UK may block Huawei from supplying 5G mobile networks

United Kingdom is set to block Huawei from supplying equipment for 5G mobile networks this year, according to media reports.
Huawei at Mobile World Congress 2019The UK government headed by Boris Johnson is drawing up plans to strip Huawei gear from Britain’s next-generation networks by the end of the year, The Sunday Times and The Daily Telegraph newspapers reported on Sunday.

London said in January that Huawei could play a limited role in Britain’s 5G networks by supplying non-core part of the network. The United States has already blocked the use of Huawei telecom network saying Huawei is a national security risk. US alleged that its equipment could be used by Beijing for espionage. Huawei has repeatedly denied the claim.

British intelligence agency GCHQ raised security fears over Huawei following U.S. moves to cut off the Chinese firm from key chips.

The U.S. rule passed in May, requires foreign manufacturers using American chipmaking equipment to get a license before being able to sell semiconductors to Huawei. The U.K.’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) launched an emergency review of Huawei’s role shortly after.

That review is set to be presented to the government this week and concludes that U.S. sanctions will force Huawei to use untrusted technology that could make the risk impossible to control, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government is now drawing up plans to stop the purchase of new Huawei gear and rip out existing 5G equipment, the newspaper said.

Victor Zhang, vice president at Huawei, said the telecom equipment firm is open to discussions with the government and that it’s “too early to determine the impact” of the proposed U.S. restrictions.

“All our world-leading products and solutions use technology and components over which the U.K. government has strict oversight. Our technology is already extensively used in 5G networks across the country and has helped connect people throughout lockdown,” Zhang said in a statement to CNBC.