UK bans Huawei due to security and trade concerns

The UK has decided to ban Huawei technology from being part of its 5G wireless network due to security and trade concerns.

Dan Ridsdale, global head of TMT at Edison Group, emphasised the clear security concerns around Huawei.

However, political and trade interests were also a factor in the decision.

Ridsdale explained that allowing the Chinese technology to be used at the core of the network and then pursuing an extensive ban had served as a bargaining chip during trade negotiations.

What does this mean for the UK’s network infrastructure in general?

For a start, eliminating Huawei from the equation is expected to slow down the rollout of 5G.

Ridsdale said that while the security aspects of the decision may never become apparent, the rollout will unavoidably make it slower and more expensive.

The UK operators are now forced to choose between the two remaining network equipment vendors.

In terms of capacity, the local mobile infrastructure faces the possibility of falling behind the one deployed in the EU.

Moreover, Huawei has filed a large number of 5G patent applications (in fact, 1,300 of them are approved).

Ridsdale said that the Chinese company could utilise its patent portfolio, which is likely to lead to IP rights flare-ups.

Whether it is for the purposes of getting more time in the hope of pushing a change in policy or slowing down the deployment of 5G, a fierce battle is on the horizon.

Brad Hoffman, head of security strategy at Netenrich, said that Chinese products have recently faced plenty of scrutiny from security experts.

Some believe that apps such as TikTok are invading citizens’ privacy by collecting personal data and serving other sinister purposes.

Hoffman said that we should not be naive and should consider the possibility of China using everything at its disposal in pursuit of its geopolitical goals.