British security officials have told UK telecom operators such as Vodafone, Three, BT’s EE and Telefonica’s O2, to keep adequate stock of Huawei network equipment as the new U.S. sanctions may disrupt supplies, Reuters reported.
Britain has designated Huawei a high-risk vendor, capping the supply of future 5G network at 35 percent market share and excluding it from the core of the network.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under more pressure from Washington and some lawmakers in his own party who say the company’s equipment is a security risk. Huawei has repeatedly denied the allegations.
Officials say they are reviewing the specific guidance on how Huawei equipment should be deployed to best secure UK networks and are considering a range of options. A decision is due in the coming weeks.
National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) officials are studying the impact of U.S. measures announced in May, which are intended to restrict Huawei’s ability to source the microchips needed to produce its 5G equipment and smartphones.
NCSC officials wrote to operators including Britain’s BT Group and Vodafone last week, telling them to maintain adequate supplies of spare parts from all manufacturers.
But the letter also emphasised the increased risk to Huawei’s equipment and its future ability to provide updates for those products in the face of U.S. pressure.
“Ensuring that products and components are kept up-to-date is essential to maintaining the security of networks,” the letter said. “Escalating U.S. action against Huawei may affect its ability to provide updates for products containing U.S. technology.”
“The NCSC has provided operators with a series of precautionary steps we recommend they take while we carefully consider the impact these sanctions have on the UK’s networks,” an NCSC spokeswoman said.
Huawei Vice President Victor Zhang said: “Our customers are our number one priority and we are working with them to ensure business continuity. We oppose politically-motivated actions by the US that are designed to damage our business and are not based on evidence.”