As U.S. pushes to ban Huawei, UK considers softer approach


"It's not that simple", one of the sources told Reuters on Monday after a Financial Times report on Sunday said that Britain had decided it could mitigate the risks of using Huawei equipment in 5G networks. It is not in any sensitive networks - including those of the government.

Bloomberg has reported that the "nightmare scenario" for telephone companies would be if they have to remove Huawei equipment from their systems.

Britain is an important market for Huawei and last month Vodafone, the world's second-largest mobile operator, said it was "pausing" the deployment of its equipment in core networks until Western governments give the Chinese firm full security clearance.

No evidence has been produced publicly about claims against Huawei and company has repeatedly denied the claims. He also said networks have to be more resilient. In Europe, apart from the United Kingdom and Germany, Italy has also welcomed Huawei's presence.

In the mobile phone arena, Huawei is now the largest Chinese vendor by volume and the No. 2 worldwide by sales, just behind Samsung. For some time now, the U.S. has accused the organisation of being an espionage risk.

Britain is able to manage the security risks of using Huawei equipment in national telecoms networks and has not seen any evidence of malicious activity by the company, the head of Britain's National Cyber Security Centre said on Wednesday.

"Everything is on the table", Martin said, adding that no decisions have yet been made.

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Australia and New Zealand have blocked Huawei from their 5G networks on national security grounds, and the USA has long voiced suspicions about the networking giant, banning it from government contracts back in 2014. USA officials believe that the technology could one day be used by Chinese intelligence for spying. "The number one pre-condition for safe 5G is better cyber security". Furthermore, Huawei's technology tends to be cheaper than European or US technology for networks.

"Huawei's Chinese staff have no choice but to accede to requests from Chinese government departments", the report said.

Huawei has hit out at the U.S. actions with Eric Xu, one of the company's three rotating chairmen, denouncing the Trump administration for conducting a "co-ordinated, tactical political campaign" against it.

Other operators in Europe, including Britain's BT and France's Orange, have already removed Huawei's equipment or taken steps to limit its future use.

"We will monitor and report on progress and we will not declare the problems are on the path to being solved unless and until there is clear evidence that this is the case", said Martin.

He noted that the NCSC had been "blunt about Huawei's shortcomings in security engineering and its general attitude to cyber security", noting that its failures were not unique, and that Huawei had promised to "address the criticisms and to spend huge sums doing so".

The report comes as the United States urges allies to exclude Huawei from 5G network development projects.