EE, O2, Three and Vodafone have ignored security fears surrounding Huawei and are continuing to work with the company to set up a new 5G network.
The UK government is yet to confirm whether or not the company will be permitted to build a new phase of wireless infrastructure, however this hasn’t stopped EE, O2, Three and Vodafone working with the brand.
Huawei is said to already be involved in the building of 5G networks in six of the seven cities in the UK where Vodafone has gone live, such as Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool and London.
It is also helping to build hundreds of 5G sites for EE and has also won contracts to build networks for Three and O2 when they eventually go live.
This step from major mobile networks in the UK could heighten tensions between the UK and the US, which has taken a strong stance against the company – having previously stated that it is controlled by the Chinese government which could be using it to spy on other countries and companies.
Relations between London and Beijing have also been strained by the ongoing uncertainty over whether Huawei will be allowed to play a role in the UK’s 5G mobile infrastructure.
Huawei has strongly denied the accusations and if the government goes on to ban the Chinese company from any involvement with 5G then they could be left with soaring costs.
A restriction on Huawei could mean that the UK is left behind when it comes to 5G being operational.
The US has been pushing for allies to block the firm, claiming it could be a security risk – allegations strenuously denied by Huawei.
Chinese ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming today said he could give a 100% guarantee that the firm would not pass secrets gleaned from the 5G network to Beijing.
‘I can promise that, 100%. I think Huawei is a good company, it is a leader on 5G. I think if you reject Huawei you will miss enormous opportunities.
‘They are here for win-win co-operation, they are not here to spy (on) people.’
A key issue across many countries looking to work with Huawei is what constitutes core and non-core equipment. In contrast to 3G and 4G, 5G will have more sensitive information accessed closer to the edge of the network, which could be a concern for critics of the brand.
In May President Trump had ordered the US treasury department to name Huawei as a national security threat, in a move that made many US firms take a step back from the company.
Prior to this the heads of major intelligence agencies had warned US citizens to not use Huawei phones.
This is while the US also put pressure on other companies to stop using Huawei equipment as part of their national infrastructures – warning allies such as the UK that if they continued to liaise with the firm, that it could jeopardise its ability to share classified information.
These concerns are also said to be shared by senior UK government officials.
So far Huawei has signed contacts ensuring 50 5G networks will be built.
Despite his firm stance, President Trump has been seen in the last few weeks as becoming more lenient to the brand, agreeing that some US firms will be allowed to sell component to Huawei.