Boris Johnson Lets Huawei to Participate in 5G

Hülya karahan: Production Editor

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The Chinese telecom giant can continue to participate in the British 5G mobile network.

The British government decided on Tuesday not to do without Huawei components. However, they should not be installed in central, data processing systems of the 5G infrastructure, but only on peripheral parts such as transmitters and masts.

To the clear displeasure of the USA, Johnson has decided to take a middle course, which his predecessor Theresa May has already taken. May had put off the final decision. The Trump administration takes the view that any type of Huawei component poses a security risk because it offers the Chinese state a backdoor for espionage. However, the British secret services argued that the risk was manageable. A government report published last summer classified the threat posed by Huawei as moderate. Evidence of abuse of Huawei’s cellular infrastructure is lacking.

The 5G network has been under construction in the UK for months. The all private telecommunications providers adhered to the old government line of not using Huawei components at central points in the system. Nevertheless, they are widespread: Although competitors such as Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung also offer 5G equipment, Huawei is not least a technological leader. The industry warned of millions of dollars in costs and delays in replacing the already installed Huawei parts.

However, the telecommunications providers do not get away completely unscathed: Huawei parts are now fundamentally prohibited in military and nuclear facilities as well as in the security area of ​​critical infrastructure objects. Huawei’s market share for non-safety-related parts of the equipment is limited to 35 percent. This may require some components to be replaced, but the impact on the industry is significantly less than with a complete exclusion.

British industry representatives and Huawei were delighted with a “fact-based decision” that would result in a more advanced, secure and cost-effective infrastructure, as the Chinese company put it. At the same time, the government, with a view to the United States, is trying to present the regulation as a compromise that does not compromise security. Secretary of State Nicky Morgan spoke of a “UK specific solution for specific reasons”.

A senior White House official said he was disappointed with the British decision. There is no secure option to give untrustworthy providers control over even part of a 5G network. It continues to call on all countries to weigh the long-term consequences for national security.

The Chinese network supplier always rejects the allegations of espionage. Huawei Vice President Victor Zhang said Tuesday that the company feels confirmed by the UK decision. “The evidence-based decision will lead to a more advanced, secure, and cost-effective telecommunications infrastructure that is fit for the future.” Great Britain has access to world-class technology and a competitive market.

Thanks to its extremely fast response time, 5G should enable communication in real time. This is an important prerequisite for remote control of industrial plants or robot cars.

At the same time, 5G networks also have a lot more computer technology in infrastructure such as antennas, which can make them more susceptible to espionage and sabotage. Some IT security experts warn that in the 5G infrastructure the boundary between a core network that is particularly worth protecting and less endangered peripheral areas is blurring. The British Security Council also admitted that 5G’s sensitive tasks were more widely distributed online. However, the security-related functions of networks can still be shielded and protected.

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