Huawei maintains access to UK 5G tech ecosystem | Mobile | News | Rapid TV News
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The fear that the slow but steady growth of the UK’s nascent 5G wireless market, for which mobile video is a huge use case, would come to a grinding halt has receded with the government’s decision not to ban totally Huawei from supplying infrastructure kit.

Huawei 5G logo 1 May 2019As part of its Telecoms Supply Chain Review, the UK government asked the UK National Cyber Security Council (NCSC) to consider issuing guidance to the country’s telecoms operators in relation to deploying essential equipment from high risk technology vendors who were thought to pose security and resilience risks to UK telecoms networks.

Huawei had been considered in this category and the nightmare scenario for the UK’s communications industry was a blanket ban on deploying its technology, a move that would have seriously threatened the rate at which the UK’s 5G infrastructure could be rolled out. This was given both the current existing implementation of Huawei’s 5G enabling technology on the 5G operators’ networks — such as EE’s infrastructure at Wembley Stadium supporting mobile broadcast for BT Sport— and the cost of other providers’ essential equipment. The operators put the cost of a blanket ban into the hundreds of millions of pounds, and feared a scenario similar to what is happening in the US.

The UK government has though decided to place just limited restrictions on the use of the so-called high risk vendors in the UK’s 5G and also gigabit-capable fibre networks. It concluded that while vendors such as Huawei should be excluded from all safety related and safety critical networks in critical national infrastructure, the so-called ‘core’ network, such firms could have a minority presence of no more than 35% in the access network, which connects devices and equipment to mobile phone masts.

“This package will ensure that the UK has a very strong, practical and technically sound framework for digital security in the years ahead,” commented UK National Cyber Security Centre chief executive Ciaran Martin. “The National Cyber Security Centre has issued advice to telecoms network operators to help with the industry rollout of 5G and full fibre networks in line with the government’s objectives. High risk vendors have never been – and never will be – in our most sensitive networks. Taken together these measures add up to a very strong framework for digital security.”