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Government’s decision on Huawei to be delayed

Jasper Hart
July 23, 2019

Jeremy Wright called for more certainty in the US before a final decision

The UK Government’s decision on whether or not to include Huawei in its 5G mobile phone network infrastructure has been postponed.

Speaking in the House of Commons, culture secretary Jeremy Wright said that the extent and clarity of the US’ relationship with the Chinese vendor were “not yet entirely clear”, and that as a result, the government would be “wrong to make specific decisions in relation to Huawei”.

“We will do so as soon as possible,” he added.

DCMS’ Telecom Supply Chain Review, released yesterday, has identified three key areas of concern: first, that existing arrangements have been commercially beneficial but have not “incentivised cyber security risk management”; secondly, that policy and regulation to enforce cyber security need to be strengthened; and finally, that a lack of diversity in the telecoms supply chain would pose risks to security, as well as to consumer choice and experience.

Wright’s comments after MPs said last week that a decision on Huawei was a “matter of urgency” in the interest of international relations.

In a statement, a Huawei spokesperson said: “The UK Government’s Supply Chain Review gives us confidence that we can continue to work with network operators to rollout 5G across the UK. The findings are an important stepforward for 5G and full fibre broadband networks in the UK and we welcome the Government’s commitment to ‘a diverse telecoms supply chain’ and ‘new legislation to enforce stronger security requirements in the telecoms sector’. After 18 years of operating in the UK, we remain committed to supporting BT, EE, Vodafone and other partners build secure, reliable networks.

“The evidence shows excluding Huawei would cost the UK economy £7 billion and result in more expensive 5G networks, raising prices for anyone with a mobile device. On Friday, Parliament’s Intelligence & Security Committee said limiting the market to just two telecoms suppliers would reduce competition, resulting in less resilience and lower security standards. They also confirmed that Huawei’s inclusion in British networks would not affect the channels used for intelligence sharing.”

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