UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson (pictured) argued critics of Huawei must come up with alternative providers to supply equipment for 5G networks, as the US upped the pressure for a ban on the Chinese vendor.
Speaking to BBC News, Johnson was adamant he would not support any infrastructure which would compromise the country’s ability to cooperate with its Five Eyes security allies (Canada; the US; New Zealand; and Australia), but said he was committed to ensuring the UK had “access to the best possible technology”.
“We want to put in gigabit broadband for everybody. Now if people oppose one brand or another then they have to tell us what’s the alternative.”
Johnson’s comments come after a US delegation visited the UK yesterday (13 January) to present the government with evidence outlining the security risk posed by deploying Huawei equipment.
BBC News reported the US officials warned it would be “madness” to use Huawei technology in the UK’s 5G networks. The delegation reportedly handed over a dossier of technical information challenging UK intelligence agencies view the use of Huawei equipment would not compromise national security.
In a statement to Mobile World Live, Huawei VP Victor Zhang welcomed Johnson’s stance, highlighting the vendor’s 15-year history of doing business in the UK and the fact two parliamentary committees had “concluded there is no technical reason” to ban it.
“We are confident that the UK government will make a decision based upon evidence, as opposed to unsubstantiated allegations.”
The US, which has banned Huawei from its 5G networks and placed it on a trade blacklist, previously warned intelligence sharing between the countries could be at risk if the UK decides to allow Huawei into next-generation infrastructure.
Zhang disputed this, noting the head of UK intelligence agency MI5 this week said there is no reason to believe the relationship would be “harmed if Britain continued to use Huawei technology”.
A formal decision by the UK government regarding using Huwei kit in non-core parts of 5G networks is expected in the coming weeks.