The US government has been trying for the past two years to discourage the use of Huawei’s 5G network equipment not only within the country but also in other allied countries. US efforts have convinced countries such as Australia and New Zealand to ban such devices among operators, while Europeans do not seem to be so influential. After Germany allowed the use of 5G equipment from Huawei in the country’s infrastructure, the UK is next in line, Boris Johnson, the country’s prime minister, is close to signing a similar agreement.
According to the Sunday Times, citing sources close to the situation, Boris Johnson could very soon approve the use of Huawei’s 5G equipment in the telecommunications networks of the operators, but with some limitations. It seems that the agreement will involve their use only in parts of the infrastructure that are not “problematic”, which suggests that the British are cautious when it comes to espionage.
The non-problematic parts could refer to the networks that most users have access to, but not to those used by state institutions, or critical parts of networks, such as “cores”. It seems that all operators in the UK (EE, O2, 3, and Vodafone) already use 5G equipment from Huawei. The new official decision could legitimize their use and also have a positive economic impact, as they can already keep their antennas and the other components of the networks, without having to replace them.
It is unclear to what extent this situation will affect the relationship between the US and the UK. The Americans have warned countries that decide to use Huawei equipment that it will limit the amount of secret information that services will provide through such networks considered “unsafe”.