UK network providers fear over 5G launch

UK network providers fear over 5G launch if the government do not communicate their stance on Huawei.

The UK’s top mobile providers have written a letter to the government urging them for clarity over their stance on the Chinese phone company Huawei, with the launch of 5G planned for just weeks away.

The letter has been written over fears that the UK may lose its position as one of the front runners in 5G mobile technology if they cannot collaborate with the multinational technology company.

The drafted letter to cabinet secretary, Mark Sedwell, calls for a meeting between industry leaders and the government to discuss these issues.

It is unsure who has added to the letter, however, EE, owned by BT, have already spoken of their potential delay on the launch of 5G saying “until we get the information and confidence and the long-term security that our customers… are going to be supported”.

“We are in regular contact with UK government around this topic, and continue to discuss the impact of possible regulation on UK telecoms networks.”

With one of the top UK network providers, Vodaphone, also saying “we would ask for any decision regarding the future use of Huawei equipment in the UK not to be rushed, but based on all the facts”.

There is a strong implication that whilst there is a concern over Huawei, if businesses cannot invest, it will lead to potential delays in advancement of technology in the UK.

The reason for the reluctance in collaborating with the phone giant comes after paranoia over the Chinese government using the phone company Huawei to spy on the west.

The US have also spoken over their dislike of the company – previously suggesting that allies of the US should not trust the company and that they may reduce the intelligence shared with any company that decides to use the Chinese phone giant.

British software design firm, ARM, has said they may also suspend ties and trade with the Chinese firm amidst security worries.

Responding to the report, a government spokesman said: “The security and resilience of the UK’s telecoms networks is of paramount importance.

“We have robust procedures in place to manage risks to national security and are committed to the highest possible security standards. The Telecoms Supply Chain Review will be announced in due course.

“We have been clear throughout the process that all network operators will need to comply with the government’s decision.”

5G launch security concerns

This is not the first time there have been concerns over security involving Huawei, as back in April it was leaked that cabinet ministers expressed concern that Theresa May would allow a collaboration with the company to go ahead, despite worries over security.

Earlier in the year, there were rumours that the government would let the network into the periphery, but not into the ‘core’ of its systems so they would not end up being linked to services such as NHS hospitals and the police.

The company insists it poses no threat to security. Huawei say that making such suggestions is just a smokescreen to conceal the fact that they are world tech-leaders, when compared to the UK and US.

Vodaphone will be the first to launch a 5G network with Three – bringing its services to London before other cities in the UK.

The 5G network promises to allow phone data to run at much quicker speeds than previously possible, e.g. the new quicker network hopes to run at 10 GBPS, meaning that a 2-hour film can be downloaded in 3.6 seconds.

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