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Restricting Huawei equipment will hold UK back, warns Sir Mike Rake

Paul Lipscombe
March 10, 2020

Sir Mike Rake also praised Huawei for its progressive 5G role 

Former BT chairman and current advisor to Huawei in the UK Sir Mike Rake has warned that restricting Huawei equipment could significantly hurt the UK’s broadband ambitions.

He also said that the UK could harm its trade relationship with China, in what is a critical moment for the country following Brexit.

Rake made the comments in an open letter, where he also mentions the importance of an open minded approach to trade, especially with partners outside Europe, notably the US and China.

In the letter, Rake praised Huawei for the impact it has had in the UK’s 5G progression: “In relation to 5G considerable progress has been made. This could not have been achieved without using Huawei, who were the first to make reliable equipment available at an economic price.”

However he warns that any attempt to restrict or remove existing Huawei equipment could be damaging to the UK’s economy.

“Any attempt to further restrict Huawei 5G equipment, or to remove existing 4G equipment will not only incur very significant costs, but prejudice trade relationships with China and will significantly set back the Government’s broadband ambitions. This in turn will further damage our competitiveness as an economy, at what is a critical moment,” added Rake.

He concluded his letter by claiming the government has taken an “evidence-based decision” that should be supported.

It follows Prime Minister Boris Johnson allowing Huawei a limited role in building the UK’s 5G networks in late January.

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