Londres n’est pas la seule capitale européenne à se poser des questions sur Huawei. Ces problématiques traversent tout le continent. // Source : Claire Braikeh pour Numerama


– January 28, 2020 – Company

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  • Espionage: How London frames Huawei’s presence on 5G


Despite American insistence, the United Kingdom chose to leave room for Huawei to build its 5G network. But London intends to attach a great many restrictions to this authorisation.

Relief for Huawei. The Chinese equipment manufacturer, which was worried about a possible setback in the United Kingdom, was pleased to learn of the official announcement in London on the deployment of 5G in the country. It is not kept out of the British market, despite strong pressure from Washington to guide its partner’s decision.

The main thing is safe, then. However, Huawei is not totally finished: although the press release from 10 Downing Street never mentions the name of the Asian company, it is indirectly referred to through the generic term “high-risk supplier”. Companies under this qualifier will face particular restrictions, particularly with regard to the core network.

  • Read: Huawei, a risk for 5G? “Focusing on a single OEM is a mistake.”

Des techniciens de Huawei à a manœuvre. // Source : Huawei

Huawei’s technicians at a manoeuvre // Source: Huawei

“High-risk providers pose the greatest security and resilience risks to UK telecommunications networks,” comments London. “The government will now work to legislate as soon as possible to put in place the necessary provisions for the implementation of this new strict telecoms security framework.

Several provisions will have to be respected: prohibition to deploy anything in critical infrastructures, core network, near sensitive installations (military bases, nuclear sites, etc.) and limitation for the other parts of the network: Huawei’s equipment may not represent more than 35% of the totality. In short, nothing to give Huawei a free hand.

Last year, the British press was already buzzing with a green light from London, but it was a leak and it turned out to be the decision of a previous government, that of Theresa May. In the end, Boris Johnson walked in his footsteps, despite the proximity he is trying to build with Donald Trump’s America, especially in commercial matters, when Brexit is imminent.

Londres n’est pas la seule capitale européenne à se poser des questions sur Huawei. Ces problématiques traversent tout le continent. // Source : Claire Braikeh pour Numerama

London is not the only European capital to wonder about Huawei. These issues are spread across the continent. // Source: Claire Braikeh for Numerama

Fears of Chinese espionage

Huawei is suspected of being a Trojan horse for Beijing. Although the company defends itself and the evidence of this collusion with China’s central government has never been made public, this suspicion has never dissipated. It is for this reason that Huawei is denied access to certain large national markets, notably the USA, Australia and Japan.

Across the Channel, doubts about Huawei’s reliability have manifested themselves notably via two reports, the first overwhelming the Chinese company in terms of telecoms security, while the second, produced by the intelligence services, suggests that the potential threat the company may pose remains manageable – if precautions are taken.

Huawei, for his part, is getting off lightly and the upcoming restrictions are a lesser evil. His statement reflects the relief that must have gone through the group’s management, as the company says it is “reassured” by London. It even considers it “essential”, in an excess of satisfaction, to evolve in a diversified and competitive market. And to say that, in the end, it will benefit the United Kingdom.