As the worrying but unconfirmed threat of the power of 5G circulates the world, Huawei remains on top. The United Kingdom granted the controversial company a limited role in Britain’s 5G network.
The firm is prohibited from supplying core parts of their kits to the UK.
It will also have a limited periphery in the network, with exclusion in military bases and nuclear sites. Huawei will only have a 35% cap in most areas to offer leverage to other companies.
The UK government claims that these measures allow users to limit potential security risks and combat threats like cybercriminals.
Vodafone UK will analyze potential impacts in non-core elements Huawei brought into the region. Some European mobile operators are also pushing for complete freedom in choosing suppliers.
Ian Levy, technical director of the National Cyber Security Centre, said its restrictions would minimize risks from Huawei. Operators in the United Kingdom should still place additional safeguards from telecoms that could be critical to national security.
The decision could result in a more advanced, more secure, and more cost-effective telecoms, says Huawei CIO Victor Zhang.
The Trouble of Discarding Huawei
Some reports argue that despite the dangers Huawei poses, there’s no substantial evidence to prohibit its proliferation in the UK. Practically, no country can ban the company without repercussions, especially with the equipment it provides.
It would take at least two years to discard Huawei and replace it with new equipment for the same coverage. The process would have used the UK government or the consumer’s money.
As the leading provider of the network, Huawei’s fall could make Britain ashamed of its hypothetical future connectivity infrastructure. Beijing had warned the UK of “substantial” repercussions to trade and investment plans if the country chose to ban them.
Despite technological losses, the most prominent consequence isn’t in technology, but for its economic impact. According to Franco Zaro of cybersecurity firm Valid, Huawei has a more global presence than Ericsson and Nokia combined.
The 35% cap was to ensure other companies can compete with Huawei in the country. Left unchecked, Huawei could make it impossible to build a 6G network in the United Kingdom without them.
Although the United Kingdom never trusted Huawei. The country’s national cybersecurity center’s technical director Ian Levy says their mutual respect existed because they treat Huawei “differently.”
Despite this, they also believe that supplying “backdoors” in Huawei equipment wouldn’t be the lowest risk.
China’s 2017 National Intelligence Law says organizations must “support, co-operate, and collaborate in national intelligence work.” This forces the firm to comply with whatever its government demands.
This doesn’t automatically mean the firm is handing over all gathered data to Beijing, however. These are in as much danger as Google could pass information onto the US government.
Foreign Powers React to the UK Keeping Huawei
The decision could affect much of intelligence-sharing between the United Kingdom’s ally, the United States. Many of the Trump administration opposed the decision, saying they were “disappointed.”
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said it wouldn’t, however, because nothing in review affected their ability to share highly sensitive intelligence data. This includes both countries’ co-members in the Five Eyes, namely: Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.
Reports expect the European Union to weigh in with their decision by Wednesday next week. SOAS China Institute in London director Steve Tsang believes that once Britain gets comfortable with Huawei, they’ll follow suit.