5G auditions are over, UK to announce that Huawei gets a role (probably)
- Senior officials appear to have sounded an ‘all clear’ for Huawei involvement
- Despite US pressure, the UK government seems ready to move ahead
- Johnson will make the final, final decision next week
According to multiple media reports (and translations from UK government-speak) officials have now formally recommended granting Huawei ‘a limited role’ in UK 5G network construction. In fact the ‘recommendation’ is a retread of the line taken by Theresa May last year to the effect that Huawei will be let in after strict equipment vetting and even then will only be allowed to sprinkle its kit into the less sensitive, ‘non core’, parts of the UK’s 5G networks (there are four networks, not one, by the way).
Reuters claims that the recommendation came from a meeting of government department officials and security agencies on Wednesday in the wake of a delegation of “senior US officials” who flew over to Britain to pressure the prime minister arguing that it would be “nothing short of madness” to use Huawei given the security risk.
So it would appear that Prime Minister Johnson, who must surely have been warned before the recommendation was made and leaked, has decided to tough it out in the face of mounting pressure from the US president and his various administration officials and congressional spear-carriers. He’s no doubt calculating that Trump at this stage is unlikely to turn on his ‘good friend’ Boris if he doesn’t play ball over Huawei.
As Nick Wood points out in his story today on Europe’s Huawei manoeuvring, the British position is that Huawei’s solutions are better value and already well embedded in many European and UK mobile networks. It’s not just a question of the short term costs of starting the planning and testing process of the 5G network equipment all over with the delay and cost that would entail. But it would in several cases, mean ripping and replacing Huawei 4G kit already carefully installed to provide a “Huawei glide-path to NSA 5G and eventually SA 5G”.
A final (final) decision on this long running will she, won’t he thriller is expected to be announced the UK government this coming week.
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