The United Kingdom government has confirmed that it will allow British mobile carriers to continue working with Huawei to roll out 5G.
“Huawei is reassured by the UK government’s confirmation that we can continue working with our customers to keep the 5G rollout on track,” said Huawei VP Victor Zhang.
“This evidence-based decision will result in a more advanced, more secure, and more cost-effective telecoms infrastructure that is fit for the future. It gives the UK access to world-leading technology and ensures a competitive market.”
Huawei has supplied network technology to British telecoms operators for 15 years, it added.
“We will build on this strong track record, supporting our customers as they invest in their 5G networks, boosting economic growth and helping the UK continue to compete globally,” said Zhang.
Huawei’s presence in the UK
Huawei’s equipment is found predominantly in British mobile carriers’ radio access networks, said the company.
These carriers use multi-vendor strategies in their core, bearer, and radio networks, meaning that the networks will not be using Huawei equipment exclusively – but rather will be using it in conjunction with equipment from other companies.
Huawei said while it has been working with British multi-vendor carriers, it has maintained a great cybersecurity record.
Despite extensive investigations into Huawei’s safety standards, two UK parliamentary committees previously concluded that there is no technical reason to ban Huawei from supplying 5G equipment to British networks.
“The benefits of 5G are clear and the removal of Huawei from the current or future networks could cause significant delays,” said Norman Lamb, Chair of the Science and Technology Committee.
The head of MI5, Andrew Parker, also said that there is “no reason” to believe that the UK’s intelligence relationship with the US would be harmed if Britain continued its network relationship with Huawei.
This has resulted in the UK ignoring the US’s attempts to convince it to ban Huawei equipment from its networks.
Using Huawei 5G networks
The approval from the UK government comes amid the US taking aim at Chinese companies – including Huawei – and blocking the use of their products and services.
“We do not believe companies should be treated differently just because of their country of origin,” said Huawei.
“We will of course continue to work with government, regulators, and industry to develop common standards that will help ensure the UK’s telecoms networks remain secure and reliable.”
Huawei added that the equipment it supplies is managed by operators like BT and Vodafone, who run the networks.
“They determine how the system runs and how best to meet the standards set by regulators to ensure it is reliable and secure.”
Huawei also claimed that the UK government has far more information about Huawei than any other government in the world.
“We’ve worked closely with the security services in the UK for several years, giving them complete visibility of our technology. They’re best placed to make a decision,” said Huawei.
5G offers big security improvements
One of the benefits that 5G networks bring to the table is improved security over previous-generation standards, said Huawei.
Huawei told MyBroadband that key security elements of 5G include:
- 5G has a similar design to 4G, meaning the RAN and core networks are separate.
- 5G network encryption creates, stores, and transmits keys securely – and these are not held by Huawei, or any other entity who creates 5G equipment.
- 256-bit encryption has been introduced to Huawei’s 5G networking equipment, offering improved data security.
- User identity data is also encrypted to improve user privacy.
- End-to-end protection will now be used between operators’ networks.
- Integrity protection of air interface information has been introduced.