UK has ratified the use of Chinese firm Huawei’s telecom equipment in its 5G networks (the next generation of mobile internet connectivity) in spite of being cautioned about security risks. Huawei, the world’s largest maker of telecommunication equipment, is considered to jeopardize national security. Huawei captured 28 percent share of the global telecom equipment market in Q3 2018 according to the research agency Dell’Oro Group.
The US has been asking other countries to completely straitjacket the use of Huawei’s equipment since 2012 and last year Australia banned Huawei from its 5G network over security concerns as well. It is a critical security decision for the United Kingdom but it believes that it can manage risks that might be posed by the Chinese firm. Philip Hammond (British Finance Minister) asserted “It’s essential that we get the balance right, ensuring that our networks are built in a way that is secure against interference from whatever source, but also are competitive.”
US and Australia on the other hand are of the view that this might result in a cyberattack by China as the next generation wireless networks might pose grave threats, as they would be operating in a much different way than 3G and 4G. The issue is Huawei can threaten Five Eyes Alliance (a treaty of joint cooperation in signals intelligence) for UK is a member of the alliance alongside US and Australia. The other two members are Canada and New Zealand.
The newspaper Daily Telegraph reported that Britain’s National Security Council, chaired by Prime Minister Theresa May, agreed to allow Huawei access to “noncore” parts of the 5G mobile infrastructure like antennas. The unprecedented leaks from the meeting of National Security Council to Daily Telegraph were condemned by the ministers and they have demanded a meticulous and in-depth investigation.