The UK government cleared Huawei to participate in parts of 5G rollouts, although the Chinese vendor will be kept away from sensitive core elements of the infrastructure.

Prime Minister Theresa May backed the decision following a meeting with officials on the country’s National Security Council, The Daily Telegraph reported.

The UK has faced growing pressure from the US in recent months to ban Huawei from supplying equipment for 5G networks due to fears Chinese authorities use its kit to spy on overseas governments.

However, the latest development indicates the government does not share all of the US’ concerns and will allow the company to supply non-core network infrastructure, such as antennas. Huawei will, however, be kept away from sensitive parts of the network, suggesting there are still some security concerns.

NCSC review
There were indications that the UK would not completely ban Huawei in February, after the country’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said the risk the vendor posed could be limited.

In a statement citing The Telegraph’s report, Huawei welcomed the decision: “This green light means that UK businesses and consumers will have access to the fastest and most reliable networks thanks to Huawei’s cutting-edge technology.”

The company added it was awaiting an official government announcement, but it was pleased “the UK is continuing to take an evidence-based approach to its work and we will continue to work with the government and the industry”.

Huawei has consistently denied allegations that its equipment contains backdoors for spying, which has resulted in bans from participation in 5G rollouts in the US, Australia and New Zealand. However, there has been resistance from major European players in implementing a ban.

Along with the UK, Germany has also said it would not exclude Huawei from an auction to build 5G networks. The European Commission also sidestepped US calls for a ban on the vendor as it unveiled a new security plan for future 5G networks last month.