Huawei 5G ban could cost Britain £6.8bn

A report commissioned by the UK MNO trade association has concluded that delaying the rollout of 5G could cost the UK economy as much as £6.8bn.

Mobile UK commissioned research firm Assembly to look at how much the UK would be affected if it decided to restrict Huawei’s equipment in the rollout of its 5G network.

UK’s 5G Infrastructure

The report suggests that blocking Huawei from the UK’s 5G infrastructure could lower investment into the technology, delay implementation and see costs rise.

While all four major UK network providers, Vodafone, O2 and EE are set to launch the technology later this year, excluding Huawei could delay the widespread availability of 5G by up to 18-24 months.

“The importance of early 5G leadership to realise the economic benefits of the technology can’t be understated,” Assembly said.

“If any restriction were to be imposed on Huawei, many of the benefits associated with 5G leadership could be lost for good.”

Huawei has been excluded from the US’s and Australia’s telecoms infrastructure due to national security concerns, while other countries have also expressed concerns in the last couple of months.

Huawei 5G ban

The US government is reportedly urging foreign allies to follow its stance on the matter.

It’s uncertain how the UK government plans to address the security concerns, but it seems as though an all-out ban would be the most extreme outcome.

In practice, operators would be limited to using equipment from the company across half of their infrastructure.

The suggestion is that such a compromise would allow officials to manage any risk while ensuring “diversity of supply”, according to a TechRadar report.

This would be more acceptable to telecom operators, who oppose a ban, as they use a mixture of equipment from Ericsson, Nokia, and Huawei.

Huawei has repeatedly denied allegations that its equipment poses a risk to national security.

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