The British decision against Huawei should worsen the already strained relationship with Beijing. The expansion of the superfast 5G network in Great Britain will probably be delayed for years.
The Chinese technology group Huawei should now definitely not be involved in the expansion of the superfast 5G mobile network in Great Britain. This was announced by the responsible British Minister Oliver Dowden on Tuesday in Parliament in London.
The purchase of Huawei 5G components for network providers in the UK should therefore be completely banned from the end of this year. Parts already installed are to be removed by 2027, according to Dowden. At the beginning of the year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government had at least partially allowed Huawei’s participation – outside of the particularly sensitive core network. It is expected that the expansion of the 5G network in Great Britain will now be set back by up to three years as a result of the U-turn and will become billions more expensive.
According to the government, the reason for the move is not only security concerns but also the consequences of the recently imposed US sanctions against Huwawei. Washington has been trying to put pressure on its partners for months to exclude Huawei from expanding 5G networks. Britain is hoping for a lucrative trade agreement with the United States after leaving the European Union. A dispute over Huawei could have put considerable strain on the negotiations.
But the British also hoped to increase trade with China after the Brexit. However, relations with Beijing are already tense anyway due to the dispute over the security law introduced by China in the former British crown colony in Hong Kong. China’s ambassador to London, Liu Xiaoming, described Huawei’s exclusion as disappointing and wrong. “It has become questionable whether Britain can offer an open, fair and non-discriminatory business environment for companies from other countries,” said the diplomat on Twitter.
Huawei in the UK was disappointed. The company is threatened with the decision to “lead the country onto the digital crawl track, make mobile services more expensive and deepen digital injustice. “Unfortunately, our future in Britain has been politicized, it’s about US trade policy, not security,” the Huawei release said.
Arun Bansal, Ericsson chief for Europe and Latin America, welcomed the move. “Today’s decision removes the uncertainty that has slowed investment decisions related to the introduction of 5G in the UK,” said Bansal. Ericsson has the technology, experience, and supply chain capacity to create a world-leading 5G network.
The change of course by the British government is costing the country’s mobile operators. Since the fourth generation of mobile communications 4G (LTE) and 5G build on each other technically, existing LTE technology from Huawei could have been upgraded to 5G comparatively easily. However, if you exclude Huawei as a provider in the 5G network, the Chinese 4G systems must also be removed as part of the 5G upgrade, although they are actually still fully functional. Therefore, the providers in Germany are also opposed to ban Huawei from the competition. However, neither Telekom nor Vodafone and Telefónica use Huawei in their core networks.
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