Huawei will probably have to settle for an even smaller role when the 5G network is rolled out in the United Kingdom. According to The Telegraph, Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants a smaller part for Huawei in the 5G-network and ultimately no Chinese presence at all.
At the end of January, the British government announced there was no reason to review Huawei’s involvement in the roll-out of a 5G network in Great Britain. This allowed the tech manufacturer to supply equipment to the United Kingdom. Huawei would, however, be excluded from certain essential and vulnerable parts of the upcoming network, limiting Huawei’s total influence to a maximum of 35 percent. This following further questioning of Huawei’s ties with the Chinese government. Critics claimed that the tech giant would install backdoors that would allow China to eavesdrop on communications or even sabotage networks.
According to The Telegraph, Boris Johnson commissioned a plan to reduce Huawei’s influence to 35 percent by 2023. The goal is to have better conditions for trade negotiations with the United States President Donald Trump. The United States government imposed a ban on conducting business with Huawei (by companies using U.S. software). The future trade with the U.S. is crucial for the United Kingdom after the country left the European Union.
The way China has handled the outbreak of the coronavirus is cited as the reason for the recent revision of the plan. According to the United Kingdom, China tried to hide the scale of the outbreak, followed by attempting to profit from the outbreak during the ensuing economic crisis.
Johnson’s new plan would provide a challenge for British telecom providers. Several providers already use Huawei material and in two cases they’re using more equipment and resources from Huawei than the aforementioned 35 percent. If Johnson’s plan is implemented, Vodafone and EE will have to look for alternatives to Huawei materials.