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Huawei, 5G and the UK: The key issues

A decision over the future of Huawei in the UK is expected to be made public by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden on Tuesday.Mr Dowden, speaking last week, said US sanctions on Huawei were likely to have a significant impact on the firm s ability to play a role in the UK s 5G network.Here is a look at the key issues in the debate around Huawei. What is Huawei?Huawei smartphones are commonplace in the UK (Martyn Landi/PA)Huawei is the Chinese telecoms giant which describes itself as a private company fully owned by its employees .In recent years, its range of smartphones have become commonplace across the UK, and it is now established as one of the biggest smartphone manufacturers in the world, alongside Apple and Samsung.In addition to making mobile devices, the firm also makes telecommunications networks. Why is the company controversial?Huawei has come under criticism over its alleged close ties to the Chinese state.The country has a history of state censorship and surveillance, such as the Great Firewall of China which blocks multiple internet services in the country and, under Chinese law, firms can be compelled to support, co-operate with and collaborate in national intelligence work .As a result, critics of Huawei have expressed concerns that Beijing could require the firm to install technological back doors to enable it to spy on or disrupt Britain s communications network.The US is a strong critic of the firm and last year President Donald Trump added Huawei to the Entity List, effectively blacklisting the firm and preventing it from trading with US companies.US President Donald Trump (Niall Carson/PA)Consequently, Huawei has not been able to use core Google apps on its newest smartphones as part of the Android operating system it uses to power the devices.However the firm has always denied any suggestions of close links with the Chinese state or that it has ever been asked by Chinese authorities to help spy on others, insisting it fully abides by the laws of each country in which it operates. How is it linked to 5G?5G has been rolling out to areas of the UK for the last year (Ben Birchall/PA)As well as its smartphone business, Huawei is one of the market leaders in telecoms infrastructure equipment, including that for 5G.The next generation of mobile data communications, 5G has been rolling out to areas of the UK for the last year.The new networks allow for larger amounts of data to be transferred at once, which could one day power new technologies such as autonomous car networks and remote surgery where specialist surgeons cannot reach a hospital physically.As a result, a great deal of debate among telecoms firms and governments is ongoing over how to secure such a data-sensitive network, which has led to the scrutiny of Huawei. What is the UK s position?Earlier this year, the Government confirmed it would allow Huawei to have a limited role in the roll out of the UK s 5G network.The company was classified as a high-risk vendor , meaning it cannot be used in critical parts of the network such as military bases and nuclear facilities and its presence should be limited to 35% of the periphery of the network.The decision was met with anger by critics in both the UK and the US, with the latter warning it would consider withdrawing intelligence co-operation from countries who allow Huawei to be a part of telecoms networks.Officials and politicians from the country have repeatedly urged the UK to reconsider the decision, with Republican Senator Tom Cotton from Arkansas telling MPs on the Defence Select Committee that he fears China is attempting to drive a hi-tech wedge using Huawei to jeopardise the special relationship between the UK and the US.The U.S. values its special relationship with the U.K., but allowing Huawei into Britain s 5G infrastructure will have consequences across several sectors. Ultimately, protecting U.S. trade secrets from the Chinese Communist Party is our top priority. https://t.co/kcJCkjRmAD Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) March 4, 2020Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove has said a decision on Huawei would be made by the National Security Council (NSC) and announced to Parliament.But earlier this month, executives from Vodafone and BT told the Science and Technology Select Committee they would need at least five years to completely remove the Chinese firm s equipment without causing disruption which could cause signal blackouts for several days.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i[ GoogleAnalyticsObject ]=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document, script , //www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js , ga ); ga( create , UA-72310761-1 , auto , { name : pacontentapi }); ga( pacontentapi.set , referrer , location.origin); ga( pacontentapi.set , dimension1 , By Martyn Landi, PA Technology Correspondent ); ga( pacontentapi.set , dimension2 , 82cfa075-a034-4c1e-9b29-f89962a6ca67 ); ga( pacontentapi.set , dimension3 , paservice:news,paservice:news:uk,paservice:sci-tech,paservice:sci-tech:technology ); ga( pacontentapi.set , dimension6 , story ); ga( pacontentapi.set , dimension7 , composite ); ga( pacontentapi.set , dimension8 , null); ga( pacontentapi.set , dimension9 , null); ga( pacontentapi.set , anonymizeIp , true); ga( pacontentapi.send , pageview , { location : location.href, page : (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), title : Huawei, 5G and the UK: The key issues });


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