Huawei may power British 5G in defiance of the U.S. ban

Huawei China store
Huawei China store (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Reuters sources say British officials have proposed resuming purchases of Huawei equipment.
  • Huawei would have a limited role in the build out of the nation's 5G networks.
  • The move would likely anger U.S. officials but may be necessary for a timely network rollout.

Huawei may catch a break in the United Kingdom as officials are considering allowing the purchase of network equipment from the Chinese tech giant that has fallen out of U.S. favor. While the U.S. maintains that Huawei networks pose a potential spying risk, UK intelligence officials say they have no supporting evidence of the spying claim, and they believe the risk is manageable. Reuters reports that British officials may consider granting Huawei a limted role in the UK's 5G plans.

The proposal would keep Huawei equipment out of the "core" part of the network and restricted government systems, which Reuters says is similar to the way the Theresa May administration handled the affair. British carriers BT and Vodafone both use Huawei equipment in some capacity, and both have argued against the ban on Huawei products. The proposal leaked to Reuters would represent a "calculated compromise," pitched as restrictive to Washington but permissive to local carrier interests.

Keeping Huawei out of the UK's next-generation network rollout could cost billions and delay the availability of nationwide 5G, according to industry sources. Android fans are of course aware of the effect the U.S. ban has had on the company's phones, locking them out of Google services and updates. The proposal to allow Huawei back into the UK network will be considered at a meeting of Britain's National Security Council next week.

Huawei finalizing Google Services replacements, year-end launch in sight

Philip Berne