U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is preparing to allow Chinese vendor Huawei to participate in future 5G deployments in the country despite the pressure by the U.S government, according to a report by the Sunday Times.
Citing senior government sources, the report stated that the government is moving towards a decision that will see Huawei allowed access to the “non-contentious” parts of the country’s 5G networks. According to the report, the government will announce its final decision next month.
“There have been further meetings about Huawei in recent days and the view that is forming is the same as the Theresa May view of the world, which was to allow them into the non-contentious parts of the network,” a U.K. government source reportedly said.
Earlier this year, former Prime Minister Theresa May was considering to allow the Chinese firm to take part in certain 5G deployments. In April, Defense Minister Williamson had been dismissed after this plan was leaked.
Huawei is already working with all four of the U.K.’s carriers on their 5G networks as Vodafone, EE, O2 and Three are currently deploying solutions from Huawei in the “non-core” parts of their networks.
According to a previous report by consultancy firm Assembly, a partial-to-full restriction on Huawei could result in an 18-to-24-month delay to the widespread availability of 5G in the U.K.
The U.K. National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) previously concluded that the country has the tools to mitigate the potential risk from using Huawei equipment in 5G networks.
Robert Hannigan, former head of GCHQ, the U.K. signals intelligence agency, previously wrote in the Financial Times that NCSC had “never found evidence of malicious Chinese state cyber activity through Huawei” and that any “assertions that any Chinese technology in any part of a 5G network represents an unacceptable risk are nonsense.”
Earlier this month, the German government finalized rules for the deployment of 5G mobile networks in the country, which would not exclude Huawei.
Government officials confirmed that Germany’s so-called security catalogue foresaw an evaluation of technical and other criteria, but that no single vendor would be barred in order to create a level playing field for equipment vendors.
The Trump administration has been urging its allies to ban Huawei from participating in 5G deployments saying its telecom equipment contained ‘back doors’ that would enable China to spy on other countries. So far, Australia, New Zealand and Japan have imposed restrictions on Huawei for the deployment of 5G networks.
German operators had previously warned that banning the Chinese company would significantly delay 5G deployments in the country.