Huawei Is Helping UK's Major Operators Develop 5G Networks

The Huawei logo is pictured in central Warsaw
The Huawei logo is pictured in central Warsaw, Poland, June 17, 2019. Picture taken June 17, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Kacper Pempel)

UK telecoms seem like they aren't at all worried about security risks allegedly perpetuated by Chinese tech giant Huawei, that is according to U.S. intelligence agencies. A recent report reveals that all four major carriers in the UK are pursuing to use Huawei networking gear to roll out the next-generation 5G technology.

According to a report from the Observer, Huawei has acquired contracts for "non-core" parts of the network. This info seemingly matches up with reported UK government policy that allows the use of its technology in specific situations. However, it's still unknown what Huawei gear will or will not be allowed.

The report says that the Chinese company has already started working on Vodafone 5G networks and is currently helping with "hundreds of 5G sites for EE," and has contracts to work with Three and O2.

In spite of the lack of hard evidence and amid an ongoing U.S.-China trade war, U.S intelligence agencies have accused Huawei foreign espionage. As a result, the world's largest telecom gear provider has been banned in the U.S. Its additional problems stateside include charges of trade theft and fraud and a separate effort to extradite its chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou to the U.S. from Canada on allegations of banking fraud and Iran sanctions violations.

Said intelligence agencies have also upped the pressure on allies, with the CIA allegedly telling other members of the "Five Eyes" intelligence alliance (a joint signals, military, and human intelligence-sharing arrangement between Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the U.S., and the UK) that Huawei is funded in part by the Chinese military. At one point, U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard A. Grenell reportedly wrote a letter to the German economic minister threatening to lessen security cooperation if Germany did not restrict Huawei gear.

Over the past few months, Huawei ban had been the subject of headlines and the Commerce Department even included the company in what the U.S. calls an "entity list," which requires government permission to access U.S. technology.

Several officials in the UK also have concerns of their own, according to the Observer, including a recently fired defense secretary accused of leaking related documents. However, some are still in support of Huawei and fears that banning the company will only halt the UK's quest for 5G technology.

In recent weeks Trump has softened his position, agreeing that US firms should be able to sell some components to Huawei, a climbdown described by the Republican Senator Marco Rubio as a "catastrophic mistake."

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