What would happen if the UK ditched the Chinese firm?
The consequences could affect how quickly improved internet access is rolled out and how much it will cost. This a time when the country’s economy is already in a precarious state because of the coronavirus pandemic.
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The catalyst for a potential rethink is the US’s move to restrict the firm’s ability to buy chips, which was justified on “national security grounds”.
On Sunday, the UK’s National Security Centre (NCSC) confirmed it was examining what impact this would have on the UK networks that use Huawei’s tech.
That sounds quite vague. But it potentially paves the way for a government U-turn.
In January, the prime minister gave the green light to continued use of the firm’s tech in mobile and broadband networks, but said its its market share must be reduced.
Now he might appreciate the chance for change of mind.
It would help Boris Johnson prevent backbenchers who favour a ban from derailing his forthcoming Telecoms Infrastructure Bill.
Moreover, it offers him a way to defuse tensions with the White House, which has said continued use of Huawei will have a “dramatic impact on our ability to share [security] information”.
Mr Johnson and President Trump may meet next month at a mooted G7 summit. Blocking Huawei could help secure a post-Brexit trade deal, even if it made relations with China trickier.
But the company warns there would be consequences.
“More suppliers means greater competition, innovation and network reliability, and crucially ensures consumers have access to the best possible technology,” Victor Zhang, Huawei’s UK chief, told the BBC.
“Removing Huawei would seriously delay 5G, costing the British economy up to £7bn,” he added, citing a study published last year by Mobile UK, a trade group that represents UK network operators.
Source : The Verge | Photocredit : Google