UK Carriers want clarification from Government on Huawei

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UK Carriers are urging the Government to clarify the UK’s position on Huawei, claiming that uncertainty could harm Britain’s chances of being a world leader in 5G.

In a draft letter addressed to Cabinet Secretary Mark Sedwill, and seen by the BBC, telecoms leaders have requested a meeting with politicians to discuss their concerns following a US ban on the company.

The ban last month effectively bars US firms from selling to the company without government approval.

The action was part of the broader trade dispute between China and the US, which has accused Chinese technology companies such as Huawei of stealing trade secrets and threatening cybersecurity – possibly at the behest of the ruling Communist Party.

Chinese authorities say the United States is exaggerating security concerns to block a potential competitor.

Huawei has denied it would share user secrets with the Chinese government and demanded that the US provide evidence to show that such a risk exists. Earlier, it insisted that the trade friction with Washington was not taking much of a toll on its global business.

But US officials have made it their mission to persuade other governments to avoid working with Huawei, warning that Washington might not share sensitive information with allies if they are using Huawei equipment and networks that the Washington suspects could be compromised.

In the UK, telecoms companies have been under increased pressure to decide whether Huawei will be a part of planned 5G network rollouts planned for this year.

Vodafone will turn on its 5G service in the UK in July, and plans to use equipment supplied by the Chinese telecoms giant. EE used Huawei’s equipment in its rollout last month.

The Government has maintained that no decision has yet been made over Huawei’s presence in 5G networks and is still carrying out a review despite calls from the US to sever ties over allegations of espionage.

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