Theresa May gives Huawei amber light to build UK 5G network

Despite security concerns over Huawei’s involvement, the UK government has permitted the Chinese telecoms vendor to supply non-essential parts of the UK 5G network.

The introduction of 5G into the UK will provide huge benefits for internet users, with browsing and download speeds increasing by 10 to 20 times. Ian Fogg from OpenSignal, a mobile data analytics company, says that the introduction of 5G will ensure that “Whatever we do now with our smartphones we’ll be able to do faster and better,” in addition to “all the new services that will be built that we can’t foresee.”

The decision, made by the Prime Minister, was enacted despite warnings from the Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Defence Secretary, International Trade Secretary and International Development Secretary.

This decision comes only a month after a report from the Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre Oversight Board, which cited “serious and systematic defects” as key reasons for reduced involvement from Huawei.

The final decision, which only permits Huawei to supply non-core parts of the network, was clearly influenced by this report which did not recommend a complete ban on involvement but that restrictions be put into place.

Nonetheless, Ciaran Martin, CEO of the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, gave the UK government his vote of confidence, assuring attendees of a cyber security conference in Brussels that they would be able to minimise the risk.

Though the acceptance of such risk may come as a surprise to some, Dr Olejnik, an independent cybersecurity advisor, told TechCrunch that he entirely expected this outcome:

“UK officials have been carefully sending signals in the previous months. In a sense, this makes us closer to the end of the 5G drama.”

Commenting on the potential risk, Olejnik added that “With proper management most risk can be mitigated. It all depends on the strategic planning. I believe the level of responsibility at telecoms will remain similar to today’s. The main message expected by telecoms is clarity to enable them to move on with infrastructure.”

The extent to which Huawei will be involved in the UK 5G network currently remains unclear but we can all rest assured that all risk factors will be mitigated and cyber security will be kept exceptionally tight so that we can all enjoy the benefits of a 5G network.