Huawei’s chief executive, Ren Zhengfei, has said that the company is confident that the UK will continue to use its services even though the company is currently locked in a dispute with the US.
Zhengfei spoke to Sky about the upcoming 5G rollouts that various providers have planned in the coming year: “I think they won’t say no to us as long as they go through those rigorous tests and look at it in a serious manner and I think if they do say no, it won’t be to us.”
The UK’s Science and Technology Committee agrees that there are no real technical reasons to forgo the use of Huawei’s products in 5G infrastructure. The Chair of the Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee, Normand Lamb, said:
“We have found no evidence from our work to suggest that the complete exclusion of Huawei from the UK’s telecommunications networks, would, from a technical point of view, constitute a proportionate response to the potential threat posed by foreign suppliers.”
However, Lamb did highlight that the government needs to asses how it may affect the UK’s relationship with the US going forward if they were to continue using Huawei’s products:
“The conclusion is restricted to technical considerations. There may well be geopolitical or ethical grounds for the Government to decide to enact a ban on Huawei’s equipment.”
Victor Zhang, President of Global Affairs at Huawei, responded to the report: “We note the key conclusion from the Science and Technology committee letter, which states ‘There are no technical grounds for excluding Huawei entirely from the UK’s 5G or other telecommunication networks.’”
Zhang also expressed confidence that the UK would opt for an ‘evidence-based’ approach regarding the matter:
“We are assured that the UK, unlike others, is taking an evidence-based approach to network security. Huawei complies with the laws and regulations in all the markets where we operate.”
The Chinese firm has already been working with Vodafone on providing 5G infrastructure, having been involved in six of the seven cities where Vodafone have already launched their 5G service. Huawei are also working with EE and Three on their own 5G networks.
President Trump has accused the Chinese tech company of a plethora of violations, leading to the ban on Huawei equipment on US networks. These violations include fraud and violating US sanctions against Iran.
Consequently, Huawei’s license for the use of the Android operating system was revoked by Google. However, the ban has not had an effect on current smartphones and devices made by the company.
Chip manufacturers ARM and Qualcomm were also affected as a result of the ban, with Qualcomm posting a loss of sales in the previous quarter.
Following a meeting between Chinese president Xi Jinping and US president Donald Trump, the terms of the ban were relaxed somewhat. The White House explained that the easing of restrictions was only temporary, and that talks between the US and Huawei will resume down the line
Within the last few weeks a Reuters report outlined plans for US companies to obtain licenses to do business with Huawei “where there is no threat to national security”. This could become a reality within the next two weeks according to the latest news.