Huawei, a leader in 5G technology and also one of the world’s biggest sellers of smartphones, has seen its business targeted in a concerted campaign by the United States. But its products are often described as superior and cheaper than those sold by European rivals Nokia and Ericsson. Some experts say that Huawei owes part of its success to favorable loans from the Chinese state, an assertion the company disputes.
The UK government said “high risk vendors” like Huawei will be excluded from all safety critical infrastructure, security critical “core” functions of the network and sensitive locations such as military sites and nuclear power stations.
The company will also be limited to supplying 35% of network equipment and base stations, or carrying 35% of network traffic.
“The government is certain that these measures, taken together, will allow us to mitigate the potential risk posed by the supply chain and to combat the range of threats, whether cyber criminals, or state sponsored attacks,” the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said in a statement.
A spokesperson for telecom company BT (BTGOF), which operates networks in the United Kingdom and several other markets, said the government’s decision “is an important clarification for the industry.” It said it does not use Huawei equipment in its core networks.
Three, another mobile network operator, said it was reviewing the announcement. O2, the UK brand of Spain’s Telefonica (TEF), said that Huawei products make up less than 1% of the network infrastructure it owns. O2 said it would continue to work with its primary vendors, Nokia and Ericsson.
Vodafone (VOD) said it does not use Huawei equipment in core parts of its network. A spokesperson said the company would study the decision and its potential impact on the rest of its network, and work with authorities if it needs to swap out any parts.