The American and British governments have come together to form an alliance to promote “trusted 5G solutions,” it was announced this week.
“Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo spoke with UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab today and discussed the UK’s decision to prevent the use of unsecure technology in its 5G networks. The Secretary and Foreign Secretary agreed to work together to promote the development of additional trusted 5G solutions,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement on Thursday. No additional details were given.
5G networks are expected to power everything from smartphones to driverless cars to power grids once implemented broadly. As a result, granting a foreign company access to critical network infrastructure is seen as a risk.
Last week Huawei requested the U.K. delay the implementation of a ban on the firm from all of British 5G networks until after 2025, the Sunday Times reported. The delay would have postponed any potential decision until after England’s next election in 2024. The company is hoping a new administration will make a different decision regarding its equipment.
That request was approved as last week the UK gave British operators until 2027 to remove existing Huawei eqiupment from their networks.
Digital and Culture Minister Oliver Dowden said new US sanctions imposed on the company in May had “significantly changed” the calculation regarding Huawei’s role in England’s networks.
“Given the uncertainty this creates around Huawei’s supply chain, the UK can no longer be confident it will be able to guarantee the security of future Huawei 5G equipment,” he said.
The decision is seen as a victory for the Trump administration which has been urging allies to exclude Huawei products from their 5G network because of the threat posed to national security.
Last month Sec. Pompeo said that “the tide is turning against Huawei as citizens around the world are waking up to the danger of the Chinese Communist Party’s surveillance state.”
Those sentiments were echoed earlier this month by Guillaume Poupard, the head of France’s cybersecurity agency ANSSI, as he announced his government is strongly encouraging their firms not to use Huawei infrastructure.
“This is not Huawei bashing or anti-Chinese racism,” he said. “All we’re saying is that the risk is not the same with European suppliers as with non-Europeans.”
Photo by Kārlis Dambrāns