British officials propose limited 5G role for China’s Huawei – sources

LONDON (Reuters) – British officials have proposed granting Huawei a limited role in the UK’s future 5G network, resisting U.S. calls for a complete ban over fears of Chinese spying, two people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Huawei is seen in Davos, Switzerland Januar 22, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

The recommendation, made at a meeting of officials from senior government departments on Wednesday, comes ahead of a meeting of Britain’s National Security Council next week to decide how to deploy Huawei equipment, the sources said.

The officials proposed barring Huawei from the sensitive, data-heavy “core” part of the network and restricted government systems, closely mirroring a provisional decision made last year under former Prime Minister Theresa May.

“The technical and policy guidance hasn’t changed,” said one of the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. “Now it is down to a political calculation.”

A spokesman for prime minister Boris Johnson said: “The work on the issue of high risk vendors in the 5G network remains ongoing and when it is completed it will be announced to parliament.”

Huawei declined specific comment. The company has repeatedly and vehemently denied allegations of spying.

Britain is caught in the centre of a geopolitical tug-of-war over Huawei, the world’s biggest maker of mobile networking equipment.

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