Will the UK revisit its Huawei 5G ban in 2021?


(Cybertech) – Huawei has appealed to the UK to revisit its ban on the company’s 5G products. The plea comes in the light of President Trump’s defeat in the US Election.

Huawei’s vice-president Victor Zhang told The Guardian that not reversing the decision – made in July under clear pressure from the US – would have “a huge economic impact on the UK”. In particular, Zhang said it would be difficult to close the north/south economic divide without a rapid 5G rollout. 

“The government itself has said it will lead to a three-year delay in the rollout of 5G… Many people are surprised by the scale of the impact of this delay,” he continued. 

“If 5G were delivered nationwide without delay, three-quarters of its expected economic benefit would be likely to come in regions outside London and the south-east.”

“The decision was a political one motivated by US perceptions of Huawei and not those of the UK. This is not really motivated by security, but about a trade war between the US and China.”

The US has increased restrictions on Huawei to the point that it has become impossible for Huawei to design and manufacture new chips for its telecoms equipment and Kirin chips for its smartphones. The US has now granted exemptions to Intel and Qualcomm to sell chips to Huawei – not surprising as these are US companies. 

In terms of its classification as a high-risk vendor in the UK Zhang said: “GCHQ concluded the technical risks were manageable and so did two parliamentary select committees. Personally, I don’t think there is a security reason for the UK to stop using Huawei. America put pressure on the UK through sanctions on Huawei, and the UK – impacted by these new, unjustified sanctions – responded.” 

BT/EE said earlier in the year that the Huawei 5G removal date of 2027 will cost it somewhere in the region of £500 million. It has since inked a deal with Nokia for 5G gear. However, it’ll still be using Huawei gear in its core network for two years later than it originally planned to. 

Writing by Dan Grabham.


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