Huawei ‘confident’ UK will choose it for 5G development
By Alexander J Martin, technology reporter
Huawei is confident the UK will allow its equipment to form part of the country's 5G infrastructure, its global head of government affairs said on Friday morning.
A decision on what role – if any – the Chinese telecoms giant's equipment could play in the UK's network is expected to be made by Theresa May's successor as prime minister.
It follows a government review into supply chain security which is understood to have included an assessment from the intelligence agencies of whether Huawei's equipment poses a national security risk to the UK.
As the UK approaches its exit from the European Union and seeks a trade deal with the US, it is expected that the country would align itself with America's approach.
The US has warned its allies that it believes unequivocally that Huawei does pose such a risk.
White House officials have stated that Washington would have to reassess information-sharing relationships if allies chose to allow Huawei's equipment to be installed in any part of their 5G infrastructure.
But speaking to journalists in London on Friday morning, the company's head of government affairs, Victor Zhang, said he expected the UK to "make a smart decision, the right decision" to ensure it developed "advanced digital infrastructure".
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"I am confident that the UK will choose Huawei for the future 5G development," he added, although he did not comment on whether he believed the company's role would be limited to the core or edge of this network.
Core equipment – network switches, gateways, routers, and bridges, essentially the kit that controls how and where data is sent – is what Huawei really does, although it is also a dominant force in edge equipment, including radio transmitters and receivers.
But part of the generational advantage of 5G is how its equipment blurs the distinctions between these core and edge elements of the network, with much of the critical computing taking place closer to the edge in 5G.
Speaking to journalists on Thursday, the US deputy assistant secretary for cyber security Robert Strayer said that Washington would have to assess the UK's network itself if Huawei was allowed a role in its 5G infrastructure.
He said: "One of the most important responsibilities that we have as US government officials [is] that we protect our sensitive information, sensitive information that we've acquired.
"And people put themselves sometimes at substantial risk to acquire that information. Therefore, we need to ensure that that information is only transmitted on high security environments.
"We consider Huawei to be a Read More – Source