Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to give Chinese technology giant Huawei access to the United Kingdom’s 5G telecom network, according to The Times(Opens in a new window).
Senior sources in Whitehall, speaking anonymously, have said that Huawei will have access to the “non-contentious” parts of the network. The idea was originally put forward by former Prime Minister Theresa May but caused disarray in her parliament after the plans were leaked, leading to the resignation of the UK’s defense secretary.
“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,” said a high-ranking government source. Another reportedly told The Times that the UK’s 5G network could be worse, in comparison to other nations, if the government did not embrace Huawei.
“There isn’t a good substitute for some of the new technology in the West. The decision is going the same way. The reality is that if you don’t say yes, you don’t have alternatives. The West has screwed up by allowing Huawei to develop a near monopoly in this area,” the Whitehall source said.
A decision is expected to be made official before Christmas, although Huawei’s access to the UK’s infrastructure will be closely monitored. The decision is sure to please UK telecom companies, whose attempts to build 5G networks has suffered due to the government’s lengthy deliberation.
However, such a move could cause conflict between the US and the UK. President Trump also has a close relationship to Boris Johnson, endorsing him during the Conservative party’s leadership race and affectionately calling him “Britain Trump(Opens in a new window),” but the Trump administration has placed Huawei on a blacklist and prevented US companies from doing business with it.
Huawei may have a near-monopoly when it comes to 5G, but across Europe its mobile business faces challenges. The company is set to launch its new foldable phone, the Mate X, in China, but its release across the globe is hindered by the US government forbidding its access to Google’s suite of Android apps and services.
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