UK decision on Huawei 5G phase out not yet certain

New government report finds that US sanctions could affect security of Huawei products

Huawei logo 

Huawei logo  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Plans to phase Huawei out of the United Kingdom’s 5G phone networks have yet to be decided, but a government update will be released before July 22.

The government has received a report into Huawei from the Government Communications Headquarters’ (GCHQ) National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), according to the BBC, where it is believed that the NCSC said it can no longer guarantee the security of Huawei products due to new U.S. sanctions in May.

The U.K. in January had agreed to restrict Huawei to a 35 percent stake in the 5G market, but now U.S. sanctions aimed at cutting off the Chinese company’s access to semiconductors made with U.S. equipment have raised concerns in London that Huawei would be forced to use alternative technology with new security risks, the Financial Times reported.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week said Britain was concerned about security around “hostile state vendors,” while Oliver Dowden, digital minister, said U.S. actions were “likely” to have an effect on Huawei’s viability as a supplier, according to the Financial Times.

“It is not fixed in stone,” Dowden said of the earlier decision to limit Huawei’s role, according to Reuters. “We constantly review our security to ensure we have the best possible security for our telecoms networks.”

Johnson’s spokesperson said an update would be given to parliament before the summer recess starts on July 22, Reuters reported.

When asked about the issue, China’s ambassador to the country, Liu Xiaoming, said the Chinese business community was watching to see how the U.K. handled the case, the BBC reported. Liu warned that getting rid of Huawei would send a “very bad message” to Chinese companies, reported Reuters.