UK Markets close in 3 hrs 46 mins

Huawei bosses react to 5G network decision on ‘high-risk vendors’

By Jamie Harris, PA Science Technology Reporter

Huawei bosses have said “high risk” is a status it has grown used to, as the Government gave the go-ahead for the Chinese firm to have a limited role in the UK’s 5G network.

The National Security Council chaired by the Prime Minister on Tuesday decided that “high-risk vendors” should be allowed to play a peripheral role in the network, but capped at 35%.

Such vendors should be barred from all safety-related and critical networks, it said.

Jeremy Thompson, vice president of Huawei UK, told the press that the “high risk” tag is a “fact of life” for the company.

“When Huawei first arrived in the UK, it had high-risk status because it was unknown and I understand now we’ve got high-risk status, and one of the reasons is because we have a high market share, and the country of origin has also been mentioned,” he said.

“That’s a fact of life, there’s nothing we can do about that.”

While senior Huawei executives welcomed the Government’s verdict, they warned that it was “too early” to predict the potential impact.

“We probably have higher than 35% on two and lower in another two” networks, Mr Thompson said of the cap.

“There’s opportunity for rebalancing, that may not be an option for us but it’s not a million miles away from where we are currently and there are three years to manage this, so we think it will be a soft landing, if any impact at all,” he added.

Vice president Victor Zhang said the company believes openness and transparency is the best way to “rebuild the trust” in Huawei.

But when asked by the PA news agency whether the development might help improve relations with the US, the company said it “doesn’t change anything – today is about our relationship with our customers in the UK”.

“We are going to work with the UK Government and our global customers to make sure there is a higher standard in place and to make sure we are working with the customers to design the most resilient network,” Mr Zhang said.