Huawei escaped being completely banned from 5G networks in the United Kingdom, as ministers today determined that UK operators should put in place additional safeguards and exclude high risk vendors from parts of the telecoms network that are critical to security.
High risk vendors are those who pose greater security and resilience risks to UK telecoms networks. Carriers will be advised on who those companies are by National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) after a supply chain review.
However, judgement has already come down on Huawei, which will be excluded from the cores of 5G networks. The Chinese company’s share of the market will also be capped at 35 percent. It will also be excluded from sensitive geographic locations, such as nuclear sites and military bases.
Parallel Wireless CEO, Steve Papa, who is part of a group that is consulting the U.S. government on Huawei alternatives, said restrictions open the door for alternative equipment providers in the United Kingdom, such as OpenRAN, which allows operators to introduce more software and use a broader selection of equipment to build out networks.
“A restricted role for Huawei is positive news for the UK telecoms industry, but only if there is a credible alternative,” he said. “Dominant telecoms giants like Huawei supply technology which is very hardware-centric and incompatible with other vendors’ equipment. Once Huawei’s technology is installed in a network, operators are locked-in to the company’s lengthy network upgrade cycles and are restricted from exploring alternatives.”